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Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Fair Perception?

This morning I rad an article written by Kathryne Joyce about The Quiverfull Movement and I am sadly disappointed. The beginning of the article certainly does seem to be understanding the joys of motherhood, yet on page 2 she begins to unveil a large misconception of what having a full quiver actually means to millions of Christian women.

I happen to have friends who are trusting in the Lord for the size of their families and are happily obeying the Lord and sharing their testimonies of joyous motherhood. Ms. Joyce seems to make it sound as if these women are being made to slave over the lives of their children and living in poverty.

This reporter goes on to describing this 'burden' as something that is forced upon the oldest daughter to bear upon her own shoulders. I can't help but to wonder if this point of view is shared by those who have apprentices in their field? A carpenter has an apprentice that he is training up to become another carpenter. I assume that being a carpenter is not always easy and has it's days of frustration as well. Does this mean that the carpenter is forcing his apprentice to grind at the mill against his will? Can we fairly interpret that the apprentice is not happy?

Of the Quiverfull minded women I know, their daughters are happily learning motherhood and housekeeping skills under the loving authority of their mothers and are also looking forward to the day when they can have their own quiverfull families. Yet Ms. Joyce fails to report how their daughters feel, she just assumes and portrays these Christian families as slave driving task masters.

It saddens me to see that Ms. Joyce has failed to see the joy and rewards of a conservative family who knows how to support one another and help train young girls to become godly mothers. Perhaps she thinks girls should rise to the demands of becoming a competitor in a dog eat dog world. Surely she must think that her lifestyle is far more rewarding and easier to live.



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9 kind words:

Miss Charlene March 22, 2009 at 4:48 PM  

That's a shame. People often misunderstand the quiverfull movement. I am only learning about it and I think it's beautiful!

Martha March 24, 2009 at 3:03 PM  

I agree with you, I used to be judgmental towards large families since I grew up with only one sibling. I scoffed at mothers with a litter of kids and wondered if they were too lazy to use birth control.

Now I realize how immature I used to be and I applaud mothers who trust in the Lord to provide for their families. The more I learn about it, the more I want to trust God to give me the perfect # of children :D

Anonymous,  April 3, 2009 at 1:08 PM  

I think the big difference between quiverfull daughters and apprenticeship is that the carpenter chose to train in that career (and probably does feel burdened with the responsibilities at times), whereas the daughter just happened to be born into that family. She never had a choice in the matter, and God's core gift of free will was denied to her by her parents' choices. The central tenet of Christianity is believing by faith, not by force. Being forced to adhere to a lifestyle choice out of fear of parental reproach or the threat of eternal damnation violates the spirit of God's word.

Also, the article describes my point in showing the rebellion exhibited in the daughter that caused the mother to realize how harmful it was for her to force her children to subscribe to the same beliefs she did without allowing them to decide what they wanted by faith and personal searching.

Sisterlisa April 3, 2009 at 1:23 PM  

Are you saying that the parents need to ask the older daughter for permission before having more children? If not then what do you mean the older daughter doesn't have a choice in the matter?

MamaArcher April 3, 2009 at 2:01 PM  

It would take an entire post to address the Anon poster. I do find it interesting that those who disagree seem to post anon, I always wonder about the reasoning there. If it is a conviction then at least place your name on it.

I think that the anon poster has made A LOT of assumptions about those who live the QF lifestyle. A lot of typically wrong assumptions.

Anonymous,  April 3, 2009 at 7:30 PM  

I mean that the older children are forced to adopt a junior parental role without having any choice in the matter. The parents decided to have children, and continue to have children past the point of being able to juggle all of their physical and emotional needs, and as a result that responsibility is handed to the older children to assume (not completely in most cases of course). This adds an amount of responsibility to those children that they are most likely not mature enough to assume. I am the second oldest of 6 (oldest girl), and my mother treated me like a free babysitter. I never had the opportunity to have a childhood because I was expected to tend the younger children rather than play with friends and develop myself. This irrevocably distorts and aborts the older children's age appropriate development.

I am not saying a daughter's permission must be obtained in order to continue spawning, but I am saying that a loving parent who is considering the long term effects of her choices on her existing children might stop short of the 5,6 or 7+ mark. Each time a new child is brought into the household, the money gets spread a little thinner, the attention is divided more and the emotional capability to nurture each child gets reduced. Some people can only handle one (and still fall short), some can handle many more, but at a certain point it becomes negligent to disregard the children you have for the potential for more.

God gave us wombs to go forth and multiply, but he also gave us brains to be able to tell when enough is obviously enough. From personal experience I can say that having more children than you can raise without forcing your children to grow up and be your assistants is more a selfish choice (not considering the financial strain on the husband, the emotional detriment on the children, doing it to maintain an illusion of youth through fertility, etc) than a loving one.

Megan,  April 4, 2009 at 11:52 AM  

I only posted anonymously because that was what my browser was automatically set to and I assumed you would have to set up an account to post non-anonymously. Your insinuations of cowardice or whatnot on my part were incorrect.

I grew up in a quiverfull community and speak out of experience. I am yet to meet a quiverfull family that does not treat their children as involuntary help. Your particular experience may be different, but I have noticed a lot of the parents see no problem with the amount of responsibility they burden their children with by writing it off as the kids' duty and "practice" for adulthood.

Having a child help change a diaper is one thing, but raising them with the indoctrination that this will be their life soon enough is a frightening prospect. Most QF parents came to the decision that QF was the right choice for their lives, but they remove that choice from their children by telling them that their only purpose is to give birth to children (daughters) or pay for their wives to give birth to more children (sons). The best part of life is not knowing the path before you, and you are removing that journey by walling off any other potential side roads. Again, I say that the biggest problem with the QF movement (which I say from observation and experience NOT "wrong assumptions") is that it forces kids to grow up too soon and it forces them to grow up into the people their parents decided they must be. To have no control over your life from childhood is unimaginably damaging to your children's psyches.

Sisterlisa April 6, 2009 at 7:14 AM  

Megan, It sounds to me like you are bitter about how you were raised. I have four children right now and they want us to have more. My oldest daughters adores the family and says she wants a bigger family than ours one day. This is a decision she has made on her own.

The thing about the Christian life is this, we need to raise our children to love and obey the Lord and obey and honor their parents. Once they are grown the rest is up to them. But we must do our part in raising them. We must prepare them for their future. Whatever God chooses for them after that is His decision and theirs if they so chose to follow it. But I won't raise a child to NOT be prepared.

If the parents are putting the majority of the child rearing or housework on the one older daughter then yes that is too much to handle. Yet a mother has the responsibility to teach her children how to work and take care of her family. Most girls will have their own family one day and they need to be trained.

I have never heard of a QF daughter growing up only to be forced into a marriage with a young man who does not respect her as a human individual thus forcing her to have many children. Each lady makes her choice.

I would imagine from your comments that you have not settled these feelings with your mother and I implore you to do so. The Bible doesn't say that we are to only honor our parents while we are in their homes. Even as adults we need to honor them. Making sure we have a right relationship with them is very important. We will answer to God one day about that.

There are so many wonderful QF families that are well balanced, I do hope you will see that and not become prejudiced against them because of your experience.

Sisterlisa April 6, 2009 at 7:23 AM  

One more thing about "God giving us brains to know when it's time to stop having children"

So did God not give brains to those prior to the birth control pill's development? Or the invention of abortion? or the beginning of tubal ligations?

Not all mothers choose to have children against their husband's wishes thus inflicting a financial hardship on him. Nor do they selfishly choose to have more children and expect the older daughter to raise them. And most certainly not to maintain an image of youth in herself. Those are some pretty harsh accusations.

I know some wonderful QF families whose husbands willingly work hard to have larger families and do so with joy because they love their families.

It saddens me that your experience turned out the way it did, but please don't assume all large families live in such a way. However you choose to pass judgment on them is up to you, but understand that you are categorizing large families unjustly.

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