31 days of thoughts, Day 3.

A link discussing the Duggar family and why those attracted to fundamentalism are not necessarily crazy http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/crosspost-the-duggars-are-not-crazy/

A few more thoughts of mine: 

  • Fundamentalism gives a wife and mom and reason to live.” I agree with this. Motherhood and marriage are held in HIGH regard. There is no higher calling for a woman, according to Fundamentalism. I think it’s human nature to be looking for something, a purpose or a meaning to life. Many women find that purpose through marriage and motherhood. The problem comes about when you tell young, impressionable girls that there is nothing else they can do and no other legitimate choices in life. Those that choose to stay single and/or childless are vilified or approached as less-than. Then there are those ladies that for whatever reason are not pursued by males or are not able to bear children. I hate that Fundamentalism has held up marriage and motherhood so high that there is no love and grace and support for those that don’t fit the mold. It’s also a push to gain both marriage and motherhood at a young age no matter if a girl is truly ready. 
  • “Fundamentalism offers relief from a world full of media (no TV and gaming) in place of good books.” I am aboslutely supportive of limited or even no TV or videogames. There is plenty of legitimate research and Biblical support for the position! The only thing I would add is that it is important not to harshly judge those that do enjoy a little TV or videogaming. There are plenty of options that don’t include vulgar language and such. I mean, they still sell old reruns of Little House on the Prairie, right? 
  • “Fundamentalism offers family connection via Bible studies and hospitality.” I disagree on this point based solely on my own experiences. I find MANY Fundamental folks to be down right hostile if you suggest Bible studies. They would never hold a gathering where multiple people are welcome to speak or even agree to disagree. There is no way that women would be allowed to contribute. Many find the idea of Bible studies to be a direct threat to the pastor and leadership. Questioning and discussing with each other in an effort to grow is down right discouraged. If by Bible Study, the author means people gathering and ONE MALE speaking on Biblical topics then yes, Fundamentalism connects people via Bible study. Regarding the second portion of this point, hospitality is a wonderful trait to have. I know this is something that I have never been very good at. Partially due to my traumatic childhood and resulting OCD issues. I have a hard time inviting folks into my home as I am a very private person in that regard. I have anxiety over the idea that my things will be touched, dirt will be tracked in, or something might be broken or misused. Back to the point though, I think Fundamentalism often has a unique definition on hospitality. It’s more than just inviting people over and welcoming them in to a home cooked meal. It is the idea that your house is at the disposal of the church or the church members wherever there is a need. I usually didn’t feel that I could even say no. Once a church member has asked you to show hospitality in some way, it would be looked down upon to say no. Women are expected to cook, clean, host when there is a need, period. It does not matter what you are going through or what you can and cannot afford. It can often times be a forced hospitality that burns out the ladies of the church very quickly. I will also add that if you have parties or other gatherings, you are expected to invite everyone. It’s just like a small town. One slight towards this or that person in church leadership, and you can bet that you will hear about it later or be slyly punished for it later. 
  • “Homeschooling offers extra time with the kids.” Yes it does offer extra time with your children. In fact, if you do it the hard core Fundamentalist way, you will never be away from your children until they are sent off to their honeymoon. You will even go on their dates with them. Sure, Jimmy, I would love to go to the Olive Garden with you for dinner! That is my mom’s favorite place! (Now, this is not to bash all homeschoolers so stay calm readers. I actually am very supportive of homeschooling families, but let’s be real, not every family does it in a very healthy way.)
  • “Homeschooling offers family bonding and values.” Yes, it does offer a lot of family bonding and a lot of opportunity for parents to pass on their values to the kiddos. My only comment would be that I find it unhealthy that some families will not allow any other thought or discussion that does not agree with the family’s particular values. Again, making young people that don’t fit in or don’t tow the line feel that they are not as valued as the other siblings. 
  • “Homeschooling offers life beyond just careers, into what even secularists value most of all: family” Yes, we get it. Homeschoolers are all about family. Let us not forget though that many traditionally schooled children have wonderful relationships with parents and siblings and spouses and children. Here is a novel thought, it is possible to share family values while NOT homeschooling. So never fear readers. Your kids have a good chance of being law abiding citizens even if you put them in some other form of schooling. There is more than one way to skin a cat, as they say. 
  • “Homeschooling comes with a built-in community. ” I would say this is true, especially for current homeschooling familes. The movement continues to grow. I do love that parents have support from other parents, and children have more and more socializing opportunities than ever before. Homeschooling can be a great option for many families. I just don’t like the idea that some circles promote it as the only option. 
  • “Patriarchalism releases at least one gender from the corporate box.” It does release most mothers from working outside the home. You know what? Working inside the home, in my opinion, is a heck of a lot harder. Nothing will wear you out like children. You any homeschooling on top of that and I would venture to say that many women within the movement would be downright giddy if they had an option to do anything else but wipe butts and make sandwiches all day. Having a parent at home does have many advantages, don’t get me wrong, but being “released from the corporate box” is not what every women wants to be released from! 
  • “Courtship is a network, a way to meet other family people.” There are other ways to network and meet like-minded folks. Plus, in my understanding of courtship, many times the young people already know the intended mate, and so courtship becomes more about coupling the young folks in a Fundamentalist circle versus actually meeting anyone new. Now I will say that I didn’t personally court and had no desire too mainly because there is no chance in you-know-where that my parents could make a good choice about a mate for me. They were seriously too dysfunctional and unreliable to ever be trusted with such a decision. Courtship is a very bad idea for some families, especially families with a history of abusive, controlling behaviors. 

I am going to add the thought that just because someone stays in fundamentalism, that does not mean they are crazy. It means that they are confused. 

A few reasons folks stay in Fundamentalism for far too long:

1. Family pressure. It is so hard to leave when much of your family is in the same circles. You know that they will disapprove. You also know that they will be looked down upon and judged for being related to a back-slider. You know your relationships will never be the same. You hope they don’t shun you, but know in your heart that many will. 

2. You enjoy some of the advantages that come with being a part of the group such as a tight knit circle of family and friends, and a predictable life. You might not love it but at least it’s familiar. 

3. There is a small part of you that still believes the lies that you have been told. You are a bad mother for working outside the home. Your children will never “get saved” if they attend public school. Your Christian testimony will be ruined if you start wearing pants. You won’t be able to make the right decisions without the influence of “godly leadership”


3 thoughts on “31 days of thoughts, Day 3.

  1. Thanks for discussion. This is interesting. I would like to add, though, that you are right about the disadvantages to those things. Nevertheless, I am discussing some of the appeals to homeschooling. A lot of mothers don’t want to go to work. My mom didn’t. Whether it was harder or not, it wasn’t appealing to her.

    • oh I do agree that there are many families for whom homeschooling works well and is a great alternative. My issue with the movement is that in some circles, there is so much religious and social pressure to do it. Then families don’t feel that they can use another option without so much backlash. My thought is, do what works for you. Homeschooling does not work well for us this year and so we choose to send our older ones elsewhere but yes we have received some backlash over it. Same deal with working outside the home. There are advantages and disadvantages to any decision. I just personally don’t feel that these issues are black and white, the right way versus the wrong way. Life is never so simple.

      • Ooooh, I know what you mean. Once you *start* homeschooling, the whole homeschool community expects that you will never ever stop, and judges you when you reevaluate. It makes me so mad. My mom started homeschooling me because for an academic reason, even kept my sister enrolled in kindergarten (I was in 1st grade). Somehow 12 years later the community got her to never reevaluate.

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