Thursday, March 27, 2008

Old fashioned views, good or bad?

I was reading a parenting website this morning and came across a Mom of 2 boys and 2 girls, who was discussing how she is teaching her children "old fashioned values". Specifically, she and her husband are teaching their boys that a man's place is head of the household and should have the final say in matters, and teaching their girls that women (wives) should be submissive to their husbands. There is more to it, but that is the jist of what she was saying. Ironically, she also mentioned that there are problems from time to time with the boys trying to take things away from the girls and using the reasoning that "I'm a boy so you have to give it to me".


I, too, long for the perennial "good old days" that you read about in Laura Ingalls Wilder books, or see in Andy Hardy films, but I also recognize that our modern society is simply not able to intergrate some of things people consider to be old time values. Some values are timeless: honesty, integrity, dignity, respect - among many others, and they hold up at any time, in any society, and certainly improve it.

However. Given our modern society, it is really the right thing to teach boys that they need to be in charge, that it is a birthright to have dominion over their wives and women, in general? That they should always have the last word? And is it really a smart thing to teach little girls that they should be submissive to males?

These things are not as concerning to me if the children are attending a regular school where they are able to interact with different children from different types of households, and see that not all men are in charge, and not all women are submissive. My concern is with the children who may not have as many opportunities for these types of interactions, and may end up with a skewed view of gender roles in the bigger society thus getting some pretty hard slaps of reality at some point.

My DH is a pretty old fashioned fella, and in a lot of ways, I'm old fashioned too. We have a good working marriage built on a lot of compromise. I've been known to give him the last word on a lot of issues: sometimes because he really does know better, sometimes simply so he will shut up, and sometimes to spare his feelings. But he doesn't always know best, and I don't keep my mouth shut just because he is male. My Mom did that with my Dad- much to her detriment many times over the years.

Hopefully our son sees a healthy marriage with two people who know how to compromise with each other. Hopefully our son does not see a woman as someone who is inferior to him.


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