October 2007

****This thread has been indexed. Please download the PDF file here: visionary-daughters-thread-2

Please note that this thread is a continuation of the first thread on the topic of visionary daughters. Be sure to click on this link to read the previous discussion.

Due to the fact that the first thread on the visionary daughters discussion is nearly 1000 comments in length and is harder to download, with every visit, I am continuing the discussion here.

I expect more visits to this discussion, too, because we will soon be discussing the release of the movie The Return of the Daughters by the “visionary daughters” Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin as well as the upcoming interview they are doing with Stacy McDonald.

I also want to extend an invitation again to the series of podcasts I am currently doing on patriarchy and patriocentricity. The October 19 and 26 podcasts are interviews with Spunky Homeschool Mom, Karen Braun, and are a review of the Botkin book, So Much More, and the topic of “visionary daughters.” You can download them at either www.thatmompodcast.com or www.thatmom.wordpress.com.


I just finished a reading a book by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, “For the Family’s Sake: The Value of Home in Everyone’s Life.” The book is interesting in that it deals with an obvious topic, that homes are important to *everyone*. Well, of course. But as someone who is *gasp* shall I say it, a homemaker, I found the book incredibly encouraging.

I think the reason I love it so much is because I needed the encouragement. That it is important to do the same thing again and again, and that really that is what life is all about. That is security. That it is important to sit at the kitchen table with your kids while they dawdle over a snack. That it is worth the effort to thoughtfully plan your routines & meals, clean your house, and decorate your home. But that it’s not all that important to have the biggest, nicest, newest. I truly think we all know these things, but it is so easy to get caught up in the desires of the heart rather than embracing the reality of our everyday life.

This morning I was looking through the junk mail we got and noticed an ad from Panera Bread, one of *my* favorite places to eat with the family. That was the location of my “last meal” before my first child was born (French Onion soup in a bread bowl, shortly before checking into the hospital for my induction…)

On the front of the ad it says, “Breakfast, lunch, dinner.” You open it inside and it says “Or sanctuary, refuge, haven?” Three pictures on the other page are of a mom cuddled with her daughter in a big comfy chair, a roaring fireplace, and someone sitting at a table working and drinking coffee. My initial thought was, “Yeah, Panera knows that home is important! They are trying to sell themselves as a home away from home… very smart move.” But at the same time, it is sad. Why are people drawn to Panera? I have a big comfy chair, a fireplace and a very nice kitchen table at my home. I am a decent cook and I could probably produce food & sandwiches of the order that Panera does. Why would I even chose to go and spend money at Panera, when I can have the same thing at my own home? (I’m not sure, honestly!)

And even more challenging, why can’t my home be as appealing as Panera to my friends and family? I think we’re starting to get there. One thing that I have enjoyed since we moved back to NC is having my family (Dad, brother & SIL) over fairly frequently. We’ve enjoyed family meals and hanging out a great deal. But I would really love to figure out how to go beyond my close family, how to open up my home to others in the spirit of L’Abri and the Schaeffers. To me, part of the challenge is how do I find people to invite into my home? I am doing my best to get connected with mommy groups, to find a church home, to become active in LLL in hopes that I will meet people.

However, I do confess to a certain amount of insecurity about my home and its appeal. As I get to know people and want to spend more time with them, will I be brave enough to invite them into my home? Or will I cop out and say, “I’d love to meet you at Panera one day…”

I recently went to a lovely bridal shower where several older, married women shared advice with the bride-to-be. The advice was great. This post is definitely not to criticize anything that was said. The purpose of this post is to raise a question about something that wasn’t said.


During the “give-advice-to-the-bride time,” with only Christian women in the room, nothing was said about sex. Come to think about it, I’ve been to many Christian bridal showers where advice was given but never, in my experience, has this topic been raised.


Am I the only one who, during this advice time, is thinking about the unmentioned “elephant in the room”? We all know what brides and grooms do. We also know that sex is a source of conflict for many couples, especially during their first year of marriage. Isn’t it relevant, after all?


Young women are already getting sexual messages from the world—when they turn on the television, drive on the road, stand in line at the grocery store, and also from their friends. Why is it that the Christian community is so averse to talking about it publicly when it’s already a part of everyone’s public lives?


It often seems that because the world inundates us with sexual messages, Christians strive to be even more sheltering and quiet about the subject.  We clam up and let the world dominate, which is a very unfortunate lost opportunity. 


Whom should we best hear about sex from—older, godly women who can give us truthful messages about the subject or worldly influences and misinformed peers?


Why is it so hard during these “advice times,” when talking about how money can be a problem your first year of marriage, to say that sex can be a problem too and you need to communicate about this area and be patient and persistent in working it out.


Why is it so hard, when telling a bride-to-be that she needs to respect her husband, to say that sex (like respect) is a need—both a physical and emotional one—that men have.


After commenting on the failure of Christian women to speak openly about sex to other women, my husband asked me if, given the chance, I would broach the subject at a shower. I told him that I likely would but, honestly (and unfortunately), it would have required some gut.


How do a lot of Christian young women learn about sex? The overwhelming majority of my friends learned about the “facts of life” in only ONE conversation with their mothers (a few friends told me their mothers didn’t even do this), and then learned everything else they know about sex from worldly sources.


My mom told me and my sister about sex after we heard the word “rape” on television and asked her what it was. I was about seven at the time. We didn’t talk about sex again until shortly before I got married and basically it was only a passing sentence so my mom could give me a book to read. I’m really grateful she did this but I do think that there definitely should have been a better history of conversations.


I think it’s imperative for Christian women to get past their discomfort and take initiative in talking about this important subject. They need to provide information, accountability, and encouragement to both married and single young women, who each have their own respective needs for advice in this area.


I hope that I can have conversations about sex with my daughters early and often, even if it means I have to dig through Teen Magazine and ask them what they think, is that biblical, etc., in order to initiate conversation. But, because sex is so center-stage in our world, I don’t think it will even be that hard to initiate conversation, if I look for opportunities and am unafraid.


I also hope that other godly women in my daughters’ lives will have the courage and grace to have biblically-based conversations with them on this topic too, especially when they are young adults and need truthful messages and accountability.


Some people might say that all sex conversations should be in private. I disagree. Obviously you need to be tactful—and I don’t think it’s appropriate to divulge certain specifics and things your spouse would likely be uncomfortable with. But having said that, especially since we live in a sexualized world, we Christian women need to stop treating openly-sexual conversations as taboo. 


The more we talk openly about sex in its biblical context, and in a discreet manner, the more comfortable it will become and the more young women will think of it in a proper light.


Some people might also object to single, unengaged women being present during sex talks.  But at an all-female bridal shower, with Christian women present, I submit that this is an excellent forum for young girls to develop a healthy and correct attitude towards human sexuality as God intended it.  If girls are old enough to go to a shower, they are old enough to hear about sex.  As one friend put it, we live in an age where 11-year-old girls get pregnant.


The bottom line is this: If older, wiser Christian women don’t inform a young woman’s views on sexuality, the world is ready and anxious to do it for them.