This afternoon, while vacuuming, I was thinking about all the young mothers I know who have chosen to forego careers and stay home to raise their children. And I know from personal experience that this can sometimes feel as if the world is passing you by. And you can sometimes wish for the best of both worlds, if that is possible. At least society has told us that it is possible - to be supermom, that is.
And I remembered a story I heard on CJLU, the Christian radio station here in Halifax, some years ago now. The story was told of a young couple living somewhere in rural America, a mother and father and a son. And the father was a preacher. And he was a good preacher, so good that he was asked to travel extensively to preach in many churches. This meant that he was often away from home and this left his wife to bring up their son primarily on her own. As the boy approached the adolescent years, he became more difficult to discipline and the mother was worried. When she conveyed her worries to her husband, his decision was to abandon his preaching career, take a minister's job close to home, and be available to his wife and son as much as possible. Rather than riding out the teen rebellious years, he discerned that his place was first with his family.
They got through those years. I don't know if the father returned to active ministry as before, but I do know what became of the son. He was James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family.
While the story shows the importance of a father's role in bringing up children, it also reveals the importance of parenting in how our children's lives turn out, both parents that is. For all you moms who live hidden lives, raising godly children, and for all the men who strive to put your wives and family ahead of careers, I don't think anything else needs to be said.
Contrast this to Oprah Winfrey who said that the death of her baby in a teen pregnancy gave her the freedom to live her life. Perhaps it is not always about me.
For those unfamiliar with Focus on the Family, it is a Christian organization founded to support family life. It broadcasts daily on radio with guests who speak about issues that are crucial to living Christian family life, marriage, children, sexuality, everything and anything that couples encounter in their daily lives. James Dobson has reached millions of people with his ministry and is a man of great integrity. He recently said that he and his wife are prepared to go to jail, if necessary, to defend the Christian values that underlie American freedom.