Friday, February 10, 2017

On Questioning my own beliefs on the patriarchy

My son turns 5 this week, which means he is able to start Kindergarten in the fall. We (hubby and I) have been a little anxious about this for a number of reasons. Some of which are that he is my baby and I will miss him like crazy when he is in school more, we of course want to make sure he gets a good education, we are concerned about the transition (3 days a week 2.5 hours to next year all day every day which seems to be the norm) and we want it to be a good fit for our family.

It is not a secret that we are a religious/spiritual family. So we are also looking into some private schools. We took a tour of one recently, which seemed like a lovely school, and perhaps it is. But I had to ask about specific denominational affiliation and its beliefs. I then looked into it more at home.

Some core tenants to this church are love and hope and faith, but also emphasizes things that make me really uncomfortable. Like only men are capable of leading and a woman should never be in a leadership position over a man. It also teaches itself to be "against" an awful lot of things. Anyway, lets just say that it will not be a good fit for our family.

The thing that bugs me, that really has always bugged me, is this notion about women not being leaders. As a rule. Not a "some women with the gift of leadership" which I could almost stomach. And then often there are affiliated beliefs like how women should "submit" to met, yada yada yada.

I remember having a visceral reaction to these ideas as young as second grade. I went to Catholic School and I was a kid who liked to participate. When it came time to learn about being an alter server, I was told, "no, because girls can't be alter servers." And no one could give me a logical reason why except "that is  just how it is." And I remember crying to my mom at home that night about it. Now, times have changed and the Catholic Church has let up on some things, but IMHO, still has a long way to go.

And dears, I am sorry if you have a conservative view on these things. You have the right to it. I need to explain why I am NOT ok with it. Which is what my thought process is about this week. I want to understand my own etiology on a strong reaction I had to school or a belief, more specifically. I often question myself on my beliefs. WHY do I think this? Does it need to change? I go out in search of articles about things I disagree with so that I can learn about other view points and learn and try to keep an open mind.

And it comes to this. Who knows if maybe there is just this second born child natural defiant  inclination to want to be different or buck the system or do the opposite of what I am told. God knows I see it in my daughter already (who is a second born).
But maybe it comes down to more of my experience. And we all have different life experiences, right. But how do you tell a little girl, or a grown woman at that, who's daddy left them, told them they weren't ever good enough, always chose the easy way out and has anger issues (amongst other things) that men are heads of the household, that men are better leaders, that "God made them that way." It seems that God did not make this man that way. The main "man" I had in my life And the periphery ones were barely a step above in different regards.

The leader in my life was a woman. God made her tougher than shit. She led a family all by herself (with a brain injury at that)after dad bailed. Worked 2 and sometimes 3 jobs. Volunteered, taught CCD, encouraged, loved ceaselessly and annoyed the crap out of me with it, but that is a parents job! Taught me what I needed to know about spirituality, how to love others and accept those who are different than me and to do the right thing.
Now she wasn't perfect, but no leader is without faults. But it seems to me she did a damn fine job. And, wait, she was a WOMAN.
If I was to follow that example of the male "leaders" in my life, because, you know, only men are able to lead apparently, then I would be hurting my spouse, telling my kids that they can do nothing right, I would have probably left by now or have at least cheated a few times at this point. But you know, men have needs.

Do I hate men? Nope. Not one bit. I have fantastic male colleagues in the field, friends, pastors whom I respect greatly. I am so fortunate to have a male partner in my life who is a good, kind, generous, faithful, intelligent man to walk beside and do life with. Sometimes in areas he leads, and sometimes in areas I lead. But we work together, acquiesce to each other, and consider carefully the wants and needs and values of our family. We are a team. Not a patriarchy.

I feel that as a society we are moving in this direction (for the most past). Whatever your thoughts on it, you are entitled to. But I for one, am glad of it. I do not want anyone, based on gender or class or race or religion to be pigeonholed. "this is your role". I don't buy it. We were all created unique and as masterpieces.

My faith is still my faith, which is a relationship with a God who loves. All. Equal.