Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Family

The Family: A Proclamation to the World is a document that Mormons frequently refer to in their definition of what a family should be. There are a lot of parts of the proclamation that I like. I think families are extremely important. That being said, there are some parts of the proclamation that rub me the wrong way and that I just choose not to think about. There are other parts that actually don't bother me until people  interpret them very boldly and imply that their interpretation is the true interpretation.

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children."

Here's the thing: I don't believe in assigned roles. I don't believe that as a woman, I have a designated role in our family. I don't believe that Greg has a designated role in our family. That's not to say Greg and I haven't taken on different roles in our marriage. I generally cook and do the laundry. Greg does the dishes and folds the laundry. We both clean. We grocery shop together. This works for us. I'm positive that the roles we have adopted will change over time. If I find myself as a stay at home mom one day, I'm guessing I will take on the laundry and most of the cleaning. But the key point is that these aren't our roles based on being a man or a woman. These are roles that we have adapted for ourselves based on our situation, our personalities, our schedules, etc.

I've heard people be so bold as to say "The role of a mother and father are completely separate, but equally important." Completely separate? So... a father shouldn't worry about nurturing his kids at all? A wife should never help provide for the family? Sorry kids, a burglar broke into our house, but I can't protect you because that's your dad's role. What the heck?!

I've always interpreted this clause as follows: "Children need to be taken care of. They must be provided for and protected. They must be nurtured. This is best accomplished when these responsibilities are shared between two parents."And, if you don't mind, I'll continue interpreting it this way.

Let me just conclude by saying this - just because you grew up in a family that did things one way and just because you want your future family to be that way does not mean that it is the only acceptable way to have a family. Just because your mom didn't work and was there to greet you with cookies on the table when you came home from high school does not mean every mom needs or wants to do that. Just because your mom was nurturing does not mean that every women is a sensitive ball of nurturing-ness. I just wish people would step back and open their eyes up to the fact that there are tons of good families, in the world and in the church, that each independently decide what works for them. There is not only one acceptable family.

As always, comments are appreciated, but don't be rude or patronizing.

1 comment:

  1. I have lots of thoughts about this. And I agree 100% with everything you wrote. And if you ever want to talk about it then I would love to meet up with you. Well, I would love to meet up with you period. :)