Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Friday
Savvy Article #1003
Alert—I’m about to go against a Christian icon. I confess that throughout the years, the rigid view of women’s roles from Dobson and Focus on the Family have annoyed me. And now, an Examiner.com reporter has published an outrageous quote of mine, so I need to explain.
First, this is where I agree with Focus on the Family. I agree that our society, since the late ’60s, has been losing healthy family structure. In the ’70s, women were burning their bras, and the trend of throwing one’s children into daycare (so a mom could work a full-time job) was growing. This trend was, and is, destructive to the family.
Sometimes, one extreme must meet an opposite extreme in order for society to gain balance. Enter—James Dobson and Focus on the Family.
But Dobson’s radio broadcasts and main magazine, Focus on the Family, began to grate on me in the 80s. I stopped listening and reading for awhile, but a year or so later I went back to their material and was just as agitated.I perceived Focus’s message to be this—if a mom worked a part-time job outside the home, or dare go back to school, the Institution’s brows would furrow, and the woman would be spanked for dereliction of family duty.
The message was sometimes subtle. It was there, under the surface, in the way Dobson communicated that a woman is completely fulfilled through her children, and the descriptions of women who dutifully performed their household chores.
His tone was often patronizing and oddly … controlling. It was as if he blamed women for all the ills of society—that evil rebellion of burning bras and working—and it was up to him to shove us back in line.
I personally know women who are not 100% fulfilled by raising their children. There are women, yes, dedicated Christian women who love their families, who desire … MORE. They may be educated, or desire an education. They may want to write, or speak, or work in fashion, or… you fill in the blank.
And where do these Christian moms fit in Focus on the Family’s world? Well, in the past, they’ve been sent to the wood shed. Any desire for fulfillment outside the home, even part-time, was shamed.
In the ’90s, a Focus on the Family letter to the editor supported my feelings beautifully. A women wrote and told Dobson she was tired of him teaching that women should not work. Explaining that she was not a 24-hour-with-children type of person, she cherished her part-time job. “My job keeps me sane!” she said.
That letter was honey to my taste buds. The Proverbs 31 woman speaks!
The truth is—a part-time endeavor is not a slippery slope. Women who are dedicated will not run out on their families because they receive praise and intellectual stimulation from an outside job. If anything, it makes them better moms and wives.
I’m thinking Dobson disagrees.
But now, he is not with Focus. As a woman with a need to achieve, I’m glad. Focus on the Family has a new leader and a new magazine, and I hope it will adapt a more balanced philosophy about a woman’s role.
And now for my outrageous quote. Go to Jan Parrish’s Examiner.com article, The new face of Focus on the Family.