Sunday, August 26, 2012
I watched the news. Tropical storm Isaac was on a path to Florida, just in time for the Republican National Convention. Threatening to turn into a Hurricane I said, "That looks serious."
Four years ago Focus On The Family asked Christians to pray for torrential rain to ruin the Democratic National Convention, but all they got was a clear, pleasant night.
Now the Republicans have cancelled Monday night of the convention because of the storm.
On the program for Monday night was Obama bashing.
Let me venture an interpretation of this Providence with some biblical warrant.
1. The government is appointed by God.
"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)
2. Submission to government is an expression of our submission to God, and when you rebel against the government you are rebelling against God.
"Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right." (1 Peter 13-14)
"Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." (Romans 13:2)
3. Therefore, when people continually speak out against the government they are speaking out against God and the leaders he has appointed.
4. Jesus Christ controls the wind, including all hurricanes.
Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:41)
5. When asked about a seemingly random calamity near Jerusalem where 18 people were killed, Jesus answered in general terms—an answer that would cover calamities in Florida, Taiwan, or Baghdad. God’s message is repent, because none of us will otherwise escape God’s judgment.
Jesus: “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:4-5)
6. Conclusion: The hurricane in Florida is a gentle warning to the Republicans and all of us: Turn from this ill speaking against God's chosen leaders. Whoever resists the authority of Government is resisting the authority of God. Turn back from speaking evil against God's agents. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is in control.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
It is absolutely amazing to me how much they repeat themselves. I guess if you don't have much to say, say it again.
FamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript
Things to Consider
Bob: Some families today are breaking with cultural norms and traditions and deciding that Mom will be the provider and Dad will stay at home and raise the kids. Dennis Rainey says the long-term implications of that decision are consequential.
Take note of the "breaking with cultural norms" because the opposite of that is going to be argued soon.
Dennis: I've watched a number of couples make this decision. In their 20s, it was fun and kind of novel. In their 30s, it was okay. When they hit the 40s, they hit a wall; and they wake up, one day, angry.
You need to make some better friends.
And they don't get over it, especially the women. They get angry at the price they've paid, at the loss of being a mom, and at the man who was supposed to provide. They are looking at him, and they're evaluating him. They say, “He's running around, having a lot of fun; and he's become passive.”
Is this true for at home mom's as well? Are they just running around having a lot of fun? Because it seems in your first broadcast you talked about how hard they worked and you wouldn't want to do it because it was so hard.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, July 17th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. So, is there something really wrong with making the decision for your family—Mom is the provider and Dad stays home to take care of the kids?
We're going to talk about that today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. So, you're going to take on “Mr. Mom” today; right?
Dennis: No, I'm not going to take on anybody. Mr. Mom was a movie that had the actor, Michael Keaton, in it. He had to stay home for a period of time because he lost a job; but it wasn't a permanent decision between him and his wife. He didn't become a stay-at-home dad on a long-term basis.
What I want to talk about today is probably best illustrated by Becky, who wrote me on Facebook®. She said, “My husband has been a stay-at-home dad. He calls himself a homemaker, which he is. I work full-time, and it works great for our family. He does the homeschooling of our kids, as well. I think, when you look at this, you need to see how God has gifted each of you and not go by what society expects.
Sounds like things are working well for you. Let's try to change that shall we.
“We got a lot of flack when we decided to do this, mostly from the Christian community. It was quite disheartening. My husband and I are in partnership to raise our family. Our kids are well-adjusted. They are actively involved at church and love Jesus Christ.”
That sounds awful. Time to fix that.
Bob: What we've already heard you say is that, as you look at this, you don't see it as a black-and-white issue, with an absolute sense—that it is always right or always wrong—for a dad to be at home as a stay-at-home dad; but you do think there is some biblical wisdom we can apply.
Dennis: I want to say that it is not wrong, 100 percent of the time, to stay at home, as a dad. It's not right, 100 percent of the time, to stay at home. I think some people are making that decision for the wrong reasons. I think some people are making that decision without understanding where it is going to take them, without understanding what it is going to do to their kids, and without understanding what it is going to do to their marriage, to their family, to their relationships, to them and their identity. But I'm running ahead of myself, at this point, and throwing the stone too soon.
Did you guys listen to the first show? I think you already said this.
Dennis: I have four questions that I would ask a couple who would be considering this kind of lifestyle. The first question really gets near the heart of the matter, in my opinion. Ultimately, what are the values that this decision represents for your marriage, your family, and your children?
That we are partners working together to do what is best for our family. Those are the values that went into our decision.
Ultimately, Bob, I believe it is a value decision. As I've heard a lot of people make the decision, I think that money and standard of living is ultimately driving—not all, not all, certainly, not all—but is driving a number of folks to make this decision so that they can provide a standard of living that provides a lot of comfort and freedom for their family.
Having one spouse at home, either one, is a sacrifice. We could have more money coming in but we value our family more than that. We don't have cable but we have a parent at home.
Bob: Now, you're saying that is a factor for some couples. They are just looking at the raw economics of it. They are saying the wife can make a whole lot more money than the husband can. So, doesn't it just make sense—if she's earning and he's staying home so that you can enjoy the financial benefits?
That just seems like thinking.
If that is a couple's primary motivation, you're suggesting that couple really needs to pull back and say—
Dennis: I think they need to evaluate seriously because I think that can be and often is a faulty value system to make that decision.
Yes, having a husband work multiple jobs and never seeing the kids is a much better system.
I think, also, another value is that of fulfillment. We're talking about a woman who feels more fulfilled in the marketplace than she does at home and may say, “My husband is more gifted to stay home than I am.”
Bob: “He's more of a nurturer. He likes the home environment. I go stir-crazy when I'm around that.” I remember talking to a wife, one time, who said, “If I was at home, I would be a raving lunatic. It would not be good for our family.”
It may not be good for your family but you should do it anyway.
Dennis: Right. You talk about the consequences of all these decisions. First, you make your decisions and then your decisions make you. I talked to one person who said, “You know, I've watched a number of couples make this decision. In their 20s, it was fun and kind of novel. In their 30s, it was okay. When they hit the 40s, they hit a wall.” This person said, “They wake up, one day, angry. And they don't get over it, especially the women. They get angry at the price they've paid, at the loss of being a mom, and at the man who was supposed to provide. They are looking at him, and they‟re evaluating him. They say, "He's become passive; and he's just having a good time because the kids are now teenagers and don‟t really demand a lot of his time. So, he‟s running around, having a lot of fun."
That person you talked to was you. Did you hear the first part of the show?
I think what has to happen here is—I think you have to step back and you have to ask yourself, “What are the values that we embrace as a couple, and what are the kinds of values we want to represent our family? That really leads me to a second question, “Is the world pressing you into its mold as a man, as a woman, as a father, as a mother, and as a family?” Romans 12:1-2 says, “Don‟t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Remember the "breaking with cultural norms." Don't do that anymore!
The Scripture calls men, clearly, to be the heads of their homes—not a Gestapo head, not a dictator, but a servant leader of their wives and their children. Making money does not represent the power for a man to be the head of his home.
Because their is nothing more serving than literally serving your family.
Bob: Making money isn't how you demonstrate leadership.
So you are for at-home dads?
Dennis: No, it is one way that you can provide for your family; but because you make the most money or provide the money for the family, isn't the primary reason why a man is to be the head of his home. He's to be the head of his home because in the Bible—it clearly established a man as the leader of his home and called him to give up himself— to deny himself to follow Christ, and to lay down his rights to love his wife and his children. In some cases, Bob, it is a heavy mantle for a man to wear—to have to be that provider and to care for his family in extraordinary ways.
Bob: You know, some of our listeners heard you quote Romans 12:1-2—where you said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,”—and they would say, “Now, Dennis, if I‟m being conformed to this world, I‟m going to embrace these traditional roles. I mean, the world has established the role of the husband in the work place and the wife at home. Isn't that being conformed to this world if I just jump in and say, "Okay that's how it has to be for us‟?”
Good point Bob.
Dennis: I don't think the world was the one who established that. I think that was established, in Scripture, in Ephesians, Chapter 5, verse 23, where it says, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.” I think, if there is anything we need to be suspicious of today, it is anything that seeks to undermine the pattern that is found in the Scriptures—of God giving men clear responsibility to love, lead, serve, and deny themselves on behalf of their wives.
Wait, just a minute ago it had nothing to do with money.
Bob: So, the first two questions you are calling couples to look at—as they are evaluating—“What ought to be our response to this?” and, “Is this the right way for us to organize our family?”
Question number one: “What do we value? What are the priorities that we are trying to establish here, and what is important to us?”
Think I already answered that.
Question number two is the question of, “Are we kicking against a biblical design? Are we being pressed by the culture into an unbiblical mold?”
You really just have to pull back and say, “Are we taking our cues from the Scriptures and what it would teach us, or are we taking our cues from the culture we live in?”
How about neither.
Dennis: I know I've been strident here. I know some of our listeners have recoiled at that, and I'll get some mail.
You've Got Mail.
Bob: There is some bristling taking place, even as you speak.
Sorry that was me. Tacos for lunch.
Dennis: I realize that; but I said earlier, “I do not believe that a stay-at-home dad can do it and feel like it is right, 100 percent of the time. I don't think you could say it is wrong, 100 percent of the time. Are there cases where this can occur and should occur? I think it is possible. I really do. I think it happens; okay? I'm saying, "For this to become normative in the Christian family has huge consequences."
Like happy, healthy families.
That leads me to the third question or the third issue. “Will this decision ultimately create an identity crisis?” Will it create an identity crisis for men--of what true masculinity is and his responsibility to work and to provide for his family? Will it also create a crisis of identity for a woman—who she is and how God has hardwired her as a nurturer--one who cares about the next generation?
No. You are making this kind of easy.
I visited some of the websites for stay-at-home dads and read some of the comments. I have to say I really had compassion on a group of dads because you could sense it in their writing. They were wondering, “Who are we? I go to PTA meetings at school, and I'm there with a bunch of moms. Who am I? How do I relate to them? Where are the other men I have a chance to relate to?”
I think it is one of the reasons why this convention for stay-at-home dads occurs every year. I think that is why they gather together. They are looking for other men they can identify with to be able to have a sense of self-respect.
If you think men get their self respect from conventions then pastors must have the lowest self respect of all. There are always conventions for pastors going on.
Bob: Whenever I think about this issue, I go to passages like 1Timothy, Chapter 5, where Paul tells Timothy to instruct men--that if a man fails to provide for his family and for those of his household, he is worse than an unbeliever. He doesn't say, “If a person....” He doesn't say—it is not “man”, in a generic-sense. It's pretty clearly understood that the man is providing for his household. There seems to be a clear instruction to men that the provision role is something that rests with them.
Dennis: That's right. That passage you are talking about in 1 Timothy is actually talking about widows and how men are to provide for their extended family; but I think the principle can be applied here—that a man needs to assume the responsibility to be that one who does provide for his family.
When a man doesn't work, when a man is not employed permanently, he will not thrive.
I've watched it, Bob. Men who don't work, men who don't provide for their families will end up losing self-respect.
Totally agree. Those guys should try being at-home dads.
They will end up with a lot of confusion about what it means to be a man. They will end up becoming, in many cases, passive; and they will start to coast.
I admit it. I coast downhill when I ride bikes with the boys.
I want to read—my friend, Robert Lewis, who works here, at FamilyLife--in his book, New Eve—I want to read what he said here. He said, “For men, this spells an identity crisis of the first order. A Newsweek article bears this out. For, with few exceptions, stay-at-home dads, who were interviewed, confessed their dislike of this new role. Why? Because from earliest boyhood, males fix their eyes on the broader world, outside the home, where they have a God-made hunger for adventure and accomplishment.
Although if you look at actual research instead of Newsweek articles it says the opposite.
“Women, too, are exhilarated by success; but for men, it's the very stuff of life. Men, who aren't conquering turf God has called them to, are not merely standing still. They are losing ground, and their masculine soul, in the process. Something dies inside a man when he gives up on authentic manhood and settles for something less than the call that lies within them. His manhood becomes hollow. When a man surrenders his life and leadership to a woman, as Adam did to Eve, both inevitably hate it in the end.”
Dennis: Those are pretty strong words.
Bob: I think we also need to talk about that provider woman in a family--the one who is out in the marketplace. She is going to have to wrestle with Titus, Chapter 2, where older women are instructed to teach younger women to be lovers of their husbands, lovers at home, and trainers of their children.
And slaves to be subject to their masters. They have to wrestle with that too.
Now, a woman may say, “I can work in the marketplace and do those things.”
Bob: And I would say we are not disputing that; but there is a primary responsibility here, and your job is going to pull you away from that a lot.
Dennis: And again, we are not picking up another stone and throwing it at working moms.
No mom working is OK just not if dad is taking care of the home.
Bob: Yes, we are not addressing the two-parent working household. We are really talking about that situation where mom has taken on the mantle of provision and dad is saying, “I'll just stay home and keep the house.”
Is that what your wife was doing, just keeping the house? You know dad means their are kids involved.
Dennis: I think it is back to what my friend said. It's what is going to make her angry in the end. Is she really going to be happy with her identity and with how that gets expressed because I do think there is a hard-wiring issue here of how God created us, male and female.
Let me go onto a fourth question I would encourage couples to ask, “What is the message you are sending to your sons and daughters by having Dad stay at home and take care of the kids?”
Bob: You are modeling something; aren't you?
Have you noticed you just keep repeating yourselves. This really didn't need to be two shows.
Dennis: You really are. I'm thinking of a dad who never worked—never provided for his family. The wife struggled to provide for the kids. There were four kids in the family. Those kids grew up wondering, “What is the responsibility of a dad if he doesn't get out and work?”
Taking care of the kids and the house.
This dad didn't. I won't get into what he did, but he didn't go to work. As a result, those four kids—as they've grown up and married—have all struggled, from an identity standpoint, with either being a man and, “How you do provide for your family,” or with being a woman—a wife and a mother—and how to relate to a man who is something different than their frame of reference.
How did women ever know how to work if their mother's didn't model it for them?
It also reminds me of another story—that is really at the other end of the spectrum—of a father who had a very lucrative job—made a lot of money, had season tickets to the Dallas Cowboys games—and was laid off. He came home and told his kids. They were initially ashamed as they watched their father take a job that paid significantly less. He even worked alongside some teenagers—in a form of employment that he could find because of the economic situation in their community.
The son of the father reflected back, as a young man. He said, “When I initially saw that, I was ashamed of my father because he had taken this job;” but he said, “Then, I began to realize that what he had really embraced here was his responsibility to work and to provide for his family. Then, I began to be extremely proud of my dad and respected him, as I watched him take a second job because he didn't quickly find another job where he was able to earn enough money to provide for the family.” He said, “I realize, as I grew up and became a man, what a gift my dad had given to me by modeling self- denial and moving into a tough situation to have to provide for his family.”
So much better than having his doctor wife work.
I'd ask anyone who is doing this—as you make this decision for your daughters and how they relate to a man, later on—for your sons and who they become as husbands, fathers, and breadwinners in the family—are you modeling something you want, from a generational standpoint, to be passed down to succeeding generations?
Yes. But I think I answered this last time.
I think it's a tough question,
Still not that tough.
Bob: but I think it's one that is worth really considering.
I done considered it.
I hope what I have done here is—is hopefully leave enough room for someone to disagree with me or to take on some of these issues, and make a decision, and to ultimately say, “This is God‟s will for me and for us, as a couple, and for our family, in Christ Jesus.” You know what I say to you? “You know what? That is your decision. You've got to make it;” but I do think there is a rebellion against God, occurring in this world, against His design for marriage and for the family. I think the world wants to distort what it means to be a godly man, a godly husband, and a godly father—and the same for being a woman, wife, and mother. I just don't hear a lot of people speaking up today on behalf of God's design and being willing to take the shots that come with it because it's not a popular message, necessarily; but you know what? We aren't called to popularity.
Thank God for that.
This book right here, the Bible—it calls us to live in a counter-cultural lifestyle.
I think I am.
It calls us to embrace the truth of Scripture and to pass it on generationally to others, who, hopefully, will pass it on to their kids. We are involved in a generational war for the soul of the family, and we need to win it.
Bob: Yes. And the only we are going to win it is exactly as you have said—by pointing people back to Scripture.
There it is.
We have to have our hearts and minds soaking in and saturated with what the Bible has to say about how we are to live—first of all, as transformed people, whose lives have been radically altered because of our relationship with Jesus Christ.
And then what that transformed life looks like—in our marriage relationships, as we raise our children, and as we think through the kind of issue we've been talking about here today. You are right. There are going to be folks who hear us talking about this subject this week—in fact, there have already been some who have gone to our website and looked at the transcripts of these programs. They have typed in where they disagree with what you are saying or why they think your view is the wrong view.
Yes we have.
It's fine to engage in that kind of dialog and that kind of debate, but we have to keep pressing one another back to the Scriptures. What does the Bible say? What do we learn from Scripture about the husband's role and the wife's role and how we are to live that out in a marriage relationship?
Luckily it doesn't say anything about men staying home to take care of their kids.
You talk, at length, about what a man's role in a family ought to be, what a man's role in the society ought to be in the book, that you've written, called Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood. You don't address this issue of stay-at-home dads in that book, specifically; but you do address dads as providers and what that provisionary role ought to look like in a family. Again, I want to encourage our listeners, if you don't have a copy of Dennis Rainey's book, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, get a copy. Go online at FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about how you can order the book from us, online. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com.
And then make note of Saturday, August 4th. There are going to be churches all around the country that are hosting the Stepping Up National Men‟s Simulcast with James MacDonald, Crawford Loritts, Robert Lewis, and Dennis Rainey—all speaking at the event. You can find a church in your area that is hosting the event and sign up to join them—be a part of that Saturday event; or, if there‟s not a church in your area hosting the event, there‟s still time for you to sign up and be a host site for the Stepping Up National Men‟s Simulcast. Again, find out more about the event when you go online at FamilyLifeToday.com. Call us, toll-free, at 1-800-358-6329; that‟s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”.
I don't know if you've ever stopped to think about what goes into producing a radio program like FamilyLife Today— the recording engineers who work to capture the interviews that we do or the discussions that we have, the folks who provide the transcripts, those folks who have to load the audio so it can be syndicated to our network of radio stations, all around the country, or made available as a podcast online.
There is a lot of work that goes into the production of each day's program, and we have a dedicated staff that works very hard to make sure that we're getting the job done and to do it as cost-effectively as possible; but there is still a cost associated with producing and syndicating this program. You may wonder, “Who pays that cost?” Well, it's folks, like you,
Not me actually.
who help provide the financial support this ministry needs to produce and syndicate this program. That's why we ask you, “If God has used FamilyLife Today in your life,
then we'd ask you to consider being a part of the financial team that helps pay for the production costs of this program.”
You can do that by making a donation, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. That's what it means when we say we are listener-supported. Folks, like you, respond—make a contribution. We just want to stop and say, “Thanks,” to those of you who have done that in the past and ask those of you, who have maybe never made a contribution, to consider doing that today. Again, you can donate, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call, toll-free, 1-800-FL-TODAY and make a donation. We do appreciate your financial support.
Now, tomorrow, we're going to go from talking about men in the family to talking about a wife's role and a mom's role in the family.
Sounds like so much fun.
Judy Rossi joins us tomorrow as we explore that subject. Hope you can be here with us.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow. We are so happy to provide these transcripts for you. However, there is a cost to produce them for our website. If you've benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?
A Shift in Our Culture
Bob: More and more families are making a decision these days that breaks with centuries of custom and tradition in a variety of different cultures. The decision is for dad to stay home and take care of the kids while mom earns a living.
First, I'm not sure centuries is correct here. But even if he is correct that it breaks with centuries of custom and tradition that is a pretty small time in the history of humans. It certainly doesn't date back to Biblical times for which they will eventually reference as to why dads should not stay at home.
Dennis: It’s not a huge number right now but I do think what’s happening is there is a shift going on in the culture. There is a rejection, in many places, of what is normative. What I want to do is provide a biblical mirror for you to look into, and some biblical perspective to hold up, and perhaps reveal some blind spots that you may have as you consider making this decision.
This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, July 16th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll take a look at the phenomenon of stay-at-home fathers today—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. So, you really want to open this can of worms?
Dennis: You know, in my office, I have a hornet’s nest. I think I’ve shared with our listeners—I actually paid cash money for this hornet’s nest on E-bay. [Laughter]
Bob: As you mention this, I’m just wondering if I went online and searched for a six- pack of a can of worms—I just wonder if you can get a can of worms. I should get you a six-pack because, from time to time, you just like to pop one open and just see what’s in there. [Laughter]
Dennis: You’re mixing the metaphors.
Bob: I am.
Dennis: We’re going to throw a stone at a hornet’s nest, here, in a moment; but before we pick up a couple of stones and then run for our lives, I just want to say, “Thanks,” to the folks that keep us on the air, here, through their prayers, folks listening, and calling the radio stations and letting them know that they really like what we’re doing here and how we operate.
Translation: We are so brave for standing up against culture.
Bob: Folks who get in touch with us—send us emails—share the word about the program with their friends.
Dennis: Yes, it takes a lot of folks to keep us going, here on FamilyLife Today. These have been challenging times; and I just wanted to say, “Thanks,” to the world’s best listeners and the world’s best donors for making this ministry possible. I just appreciate you. I want you to know that. Now, back to the hornet’s nest. [Laughter]
Bob: Now, let’s get those stones ready.
"All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!" just saying
Dennis: Let’s get back to the hornet’s nest. I want to read an email to get the stone ready here. This is kind of a lengthy email; but I want to read this because I think this guy was genuine who wrote me, and I think it’s a fair ask. I really do.
He says, “Dear Dennis, I’m a stay-at-home dad.” Okay; now are we clear where the hornet’s nest is, at this point? “I’m a stay-at-home dad, and my family and I recently settled into a new city and found a church. While I was there, I was looking for resources on parenting and found your website, as well as a few others. However, I do not see any resources for stay-at-home fathers.
Perhaps his first mistake was looking for parenting advice on their website.
“There is stuff for stay-at-home mothers and single mothers but nothing for a stay-at- home father or, even, fathers who spend more time with their kids and are not the sole breadwinner.”
He goes on and asks a fair question. He says, “Is my lifestyle somehow against the Christian family and that’s why you do not feature any articles or help for a growing segment of the population? At last count,” he writes, “there are 300,000 households led, at home, by stay-at-home fathers.”
So either this guy isn't a very good Christian or the Bible isn't really clear on this subject.
I’m going to stop reading for a moment and just tell you, Bob, I checked into this. This is a growing movement. There are actually conventions on an annual basis for stay-at- home fathers, where they can get together and talk about the challenges of raising children, while their wives are in the workplace, being the sole breadwinner in the family.
Bob: So, you are not talking here about guys who are working from home or they have their office in a back bedroom somewhere. These are guys who have taken homemaking and childcare as their primary job, while their wife is in the marketplace or in the workplace, earning the money for the family.
Hey they are talking about ME. I'm on the radio.
Dennis: We’ll talk more about that in a moment. For the most part, that is an accurate statement. He goes on to say, “Am I living in sin?” This is interesting. “Am I living in sin since my wife has a job that more than provides for our family?” He goes on to ask one more. “Should we somehow readjust our lives, top to bottom, so I can earn a third as much and allow her to be home?”
No. Show over, let's move on.
Now, we’re talking about a serious issue here.
He goes on to conclude his email by saying, “Maybe I’m missing something on your website or your ministry. However, I think it’s something that fathers and families out there need, which is support from family organizations and resources, as opposed to being shut out from the conversation; or is it that we are living a sinful lifestyle, as I mentioned earlier, and is best kept in the closet? Pardon the pun,” he said. “Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your response.”
Well, I got his email, and I started thinking about it. You and I talked about it, and we did do a little further research on this. We found out that a 2008 survey—that is done annually on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day—by a website called Careerbuilder.com found that 37 percent of men would stay home with their children if their wife could comfortably support the family.
Bob: That’s like four in ten guys, who would cash it in and stay home. Now, I have to just stop here. Maybe it’s just where I am; but I’m wondering if those guys have ever spent a week at home, taking care of the kids, when they say, “That’s what I’d do”? I’ve had a few days where I’ve done that; and I have been so grateful when my wife has been back home, and I could go back up to work—[Laughter]—just being honest with you, here!
No pay attention, because right now he calls it cashing it in. Definition: To obtain a profit or other advantage by timely exploitation
Dennis: Yes, I understand. I have to tell you, Bob, and I’ll read some more of these a little bit later. I asked for advice from my Facebook® friends.
Bob: Oh, you went right to the experts. [Laughter]
Dennis: I went to the experts, and your comment reminded me of one I received from Julia. She said, “Boy! Would I love that—for my husband to try that for a couple of weeks! We could both use a renewed commitment for me to be the homemaker. I’m pretty sure that that would do it!” [Laughter]
Ha ha ha. That guy can't take care of his own kids. That is so funny. And Godly. Funny and Godly.
Yes, well anyway, here’s another one—said, “Well, my husband would have done a better job than me, except for sewing; and there’s no way I could have done his job.” Yes, so, you know—I’m with you, Bob. I mean, being a homemaker is challenging. In fact, I’m going to tell you something. I still marvel at how Barbara did this with six children—that we had in ten years—and all the things we did in the ministry—because Barbara has helped me, since the beginning of this ministry. Yet, she’s been a worker at home, as well.
So right now we are going down the staying at home is hard work road.
Bob: So, I guess the question is—back to the original email you got—“Is this one of those gray areas, where couples can sit down and determine what makes sense for them, and there’s freedom to do whatever works for you; or is there anything in Scripture that guides us in what has been the more traditional pattern—men go out in the marketplace and earn a living, and women stay home and take care of the kids?”
Dennis: Yes, your question really reminds me of a conversation I had with a young couple, at a convention that was filled with missionaries. This particular couple worked with college students. They came up to me, at the end of one of the messages, and they said, “Is there anything wrong with my husband staying at home with the kids because I really do a better job on the campus than he does. Should we embrace that as our model and as our lifestyle?”
You know, that occurred about five or six years ago; and I’ve thought often, “What would I have said to that young couple if I’d had a good tall cup of coffee because it would have taken about an hour to have had a conversation and to have asked a ton of questions of them to really find out what’s behind that decision. So, my effort here, Bob, is going to be as though I was sitting down with a young couple—maybe, even, my son and daughter-in-law or daughter and son-in-law—who were coming to me for advice.
Bob: So, should our listeners pour a tall cup of coffee?
Dennis: I think they may have to cancel the next broadcast that follows us here on FamilyLife Today. No, we’ll actually take a little extra time and talk about this because here’s what I found out by asking my friends on Facebook. When I raised the issue, a number of them said, “Yes, it’s okay because my husband is better at it than I am. A hundred years ago, it wasn’t an issue because we had an agrarian economy. Men worked around the home and on the farm—he was there. Husbands and wives did it together.”
Others on Facebook said, “When dads stay home”—this is pretty brutal—“the whole family suffers.” So, they were pretty honest about that.
Yes, that is pretty brutal. Factually wrong, but hey.
Bob: So, you’re saying it is split down the middle—from those who would say, “There’s really no big deal, here, to—”
Dennis: No, I wouldn’t say it was split down the middle. Others who said, “Men who don’t work suffer from depression because of their inability to provide.” Another woman wrote, “Money is power. It can give a woman, who’s the sole breadwinner, the power in the family and eliminate the man as the leader of the family.” There are going to be some of our listeners who really do not like that statement.
Not split down the middle with your friends on Facebook. I get that. It wouldn't be split down the middle if i asked my friends on Facebook either. Most all would think it is fine.
Others raised questions of whether a stay-at-home father really projects real masculinity—if that’s something you want your sons to be able to emulate—or your daughters to look for in a husband and in a father of their children.
Cooking, cleaning, laundry, taking care of your kids=not manly. Sitting at a microphone=manly. Got it.
Bob: You are modeling something; aren’t you?
Dennis: You really are. I’m thinking of a dad who never worked—never provided for his family. The wife struggled to provide for the kids. There were four kids in the family. Those kids grew up wondering, “What is the responsibility of a dad if he doesn’t get out and work?”
Working inside the home. Which just a little bit ago you said was really hard work.
This dad didn’t. I won’t get into what he did, but he didn’t go to work. He didn’t get out and provide. As a result, those four kids—as they’ve grown up and married—have all struggled, from an identity standpoint, with either being a man and, “How you do provide for your family,” or with being a woman—a wife and a mother— and how to relate to a man who is something different than their frame of reference.
It also reminds me of another story—that is really at the other end of the spectrum—of a father who had a very lucrative job—made a lot of money, had season tickets to the Dallas Cowboys games—and was laid off. He came home and told his kids. They were initially ashamed as they watched their father take a job that paid significantly less. He even worked alongside some teenagers—in a form of employment that he could find because of the economic situation in their community.
The son of the father reflected back, as a young man. He said, “When I initially saw that, I was ashamed of my father because he had taken this job;” but he said, “Then, I began to realize that what he had really embraced here was his responsibility to work and to provide for his family. Then, I began to be extremely proud of my dad and respected him, as I watched him take a second job because he didn’t quickly find another job where he was able to earn enough money to provide for the family.” He said, “I realize, as I grew up and became a man, what a gift my dad had given to me by modeling self- denial and moving into a tough situation to have to provide for his family.”
I’d ask anyone who is doing this—as you make this decision for your daughters and how they relate to a man, later on—for your sons and who they become as husbands, fathers, and breadwinners in the family—are you modeling something you want, from a generational standpoint, to be passed down to succeeding generations?
Yes, thanks for asking.
I think it’s a tough question,
Actually it wasn't that hard.
Bob: but I think it’s one that is worth really considering.
Bob: Now, we ought to be clear here—you’re talking about somebody who makes a deliberate choice, for an extended period of time, saying, “This is how we’re going to set up our family.” I mean, I’m thinking of those folks, where it may be that a dad gets laid off from a job—we’ve seen a lot of men laid off from their jobs, over the last many months.
Dennis: I’m not talking about the temporary loss of a job. While we are talking about job loss, though—if a man does lose his job—I’m not talking about a man unplugging and just staying home, at that point.
Dennis: I think men, who have lost a job, need to be diligent and deliberate—even though they are fighting discouragement, and depression, and a loss of some of their identity, perhaps. I think they need to fight that through and find full-time employment— to be providing for their family.
I’m also not talking about a father who stays home in the event of the death of his wife. One father—that I heard about through Facebook—stayed at home for a year, to bring stability to his children, in the absence of their mother. I am not talking about that. I’m also not talking about health issues, either.
Bob: I was going to ask about that because some men are at home because of physical disabilities or some kind of a situation that has them sidelined.
So if you are disabled you can't be manly? Is that what you are saying?
What you are really focusing on here is the couple that says, “You know, I think she’s better in the workplace,” or, “She can make more money in the workplace. He’s better at home, taking care of the kids. That just feels right to us, and that’s how we’re going to organize our lives.”
Dennis: Right. There’s one other category I want to just put a disclaimer on. I’m also not talking about men who work from home, full-time. What we’re talking about is, as you said, Bob, a husband and a wife who decide that it’s better for dad to stay home and take care of the kids, while the wife goes out and provides for the family.
Bob: This could be something—I’m just trying to imagine a guy who is a skilled laborer—he’s a trim carpenter, or he’s a plumber. He has a good career, and he fell in love with and married a doctor. She has the training and the background to be able to bring in—for the family—three, four, or five times as much money as his job is going to make it possible for the family to earn.
Dennis: I’ve received emails, laying out that scenario. These are excellent questions that people raise. I want to ask a very fundamental question here; and that is, “What is really going on here?” To answer that question, you have to pull back to the big picture and you have to look at our culture. First of all, we have a culture that is homogenizing the sexes. It is a gender-blender culture. It doesn’t care about the distinctives of male and female—that God created in men and women, in the beginning. In fact, if anything, it wants to distort that distinction between men and women. I also want to say that, in my years of counseling couples, and having talked to a lot of couples who have tried this—this is going to sound pretty painful here—but over time, I have never watched a couple make this work and work well, over an extended period of time. I have seen some make it work in the short-term; but I have never seen a couple—who ended up, at the end of the journey, 15 or 20 years later—happy that they made the choice for the wife to become the sole breadwinner and the husband to provide the nurture and the care for the children.
Bob: You know, as soon as you say that, we have listeners who are saying, “Well, you haven’t heard our story. We’ve gone 10, 15, 20 years; and it is working great for us.”
Dennis: I don’t claim to know all people.
Dennis: I just am speaking from my experience of what I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of people try it. Now, having said that; okay?—I’m going to make a couple of absolutestatements. First of all, I’m not going to say that it’s wrong, 100 percent of the time. I’m going to sound like I’m on the fence by making a second statement—by saying, “I will not say it’s right, 100 percent of the time, either!” What I will say is that we live in an imperfect world and that there are some general guidelines of Scripture, that I believe God has given us, that can guide us in the journey in this imperfect world of determining what is God’s will for you, in Christ Jesus. I am not responsible for your decisions made in your marriage and in your family. You are.
I’m just simply trying to give you my perspective—as best I know it from the Scripture, from the experiences God has given me—and lay it out in a way so that I can share with you. Here’s how I would talk to my son and daughter-in-law, if they were about to make this decision, on a permanent basis, for their marriage and their family.
Bob: So, let me see if I hear what you’re saying. You’re saying we can’t make this a black and white, “Thus sayeth the Lord”-kind of a decision—
Dennis: I don’t think the Scriptures speak to it, absolutely, to be able to make that statement.
But let's try anyway.
Bob: —but, at the same time, the Scriptures do give us some clues. We can apply biblically-based wisdom as we evaluate, in our own families, whether this is a right or a wrong decision for our family to make. I’m just guessing here—that you would say, “Most of the time, if we do that, dad’s going to be out doing the work and mom’s going to be overseeing the household.”
Sorry, you guessed wrong.
Dennis: Yes; and I think moms will work outside the home—part-time, full-time. I think that can happen. I think it does happen. Yet, if you want to take a look at what’s happening in the culture—the family is falling apart because of the economic pressures we are putting on it—to have more, acquire more, live at a higher standard. I’m now tipping my hand, Bob, about what I will say about this because I’m looking at the cup of coffee—it’s about half-gone.
Here’s what I’m going to do, as we unpack this, this week. In the absence of any clear biblical prohibition against or blessing for stay-at-home dads, what I want to do is provide a biblical mirror for you to look into and perhaps reveal some blind spots that you may have as you consider making this decision—or, you know someone who has already made it. Perhaps you see them headed for disaster; and maybe, you’d like to help them.
So the Bible doesn't say it. But you will say it and then say how the Bible says it.
It’s not my intention, on this broadcast, to beat people up. Life is tough enough as it is. We’re all about encouraging people, cheering them on—but cheering them on, according to the biblical blueprints—to be a follower of Christ, and to do our best to try to live life the way God designed it, and pass on that perspective to the next generation.
I feel so encouraged. Is my sarcasm font working?
Bob: I feel like we need to say we’re not tackling the issue of two parents working—in this context.
No no no. It is ok for both parents to work. Just not for dad to stay home.
Dennis: No. No, the hornet's nest that we’ve thrown a stone at—this is sufficient. Although, it’s not a huge number right now; but I do think what’s happening is—there is a shift going on in the culture. As we’ll talk about, there is a rejection, in many places, of what is normative in Scripture.
Didn't we just say scripture didn't address it?
Bob: You don’t talk about this specifically in your book, Stepping Up. I mean, you don’t address the phenomena of stay-at-home dads specifically, but you talk about provision and protection and how that is a part of what courageous manhood ought to look like.
Now lets do the manly thing of hawking our wares.
If our listeners don’t have a copy of the book, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, I would encourage them to get a copy. I hope many of our listeners are going to be joining us at the Stepping Up National Men’s Simulcast that is taking place on Saturday, August 4th. Details about the simulcast can be found, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com.
You can find one of the simulcast sites near where you live and plan to attend; or if there is not a simulcast site near where you live and your church would like to host one, again, more details can be found, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. The simulcast is Saturday, August 4th. FamilyLifeToday.com is the website; or call if you have any questions: 1-800-358-6329; that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”.
By the way, we want to say a quick word of thanks to those of you who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today financially. We are listener-supported. It is folks, like you, who provide the funding for the production and syndication of this daily radio program on a network of stations, all across the country, and around the world, on the internet.
We appreciate your partnership with us. During the summer, when things slow down a bit, every donation we receive is really appreciated. We are grateful for whatever you are able to do to help support FamilyLife Today. Again, thanks for your financial support; and we look forward to hearing from you.
And we want to encourage you to be back with us again tomorrow when we are going to continue to look at the subject of stay-at-home dads and talk about some of the problems that may be associated with that. Hope you can join us.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Before I get too into this let me make a couple of things clear.
I like PBS Parents. I think in general they do a pretty good job of appealing to both moms and dads. It is a good start that they are called PBS Parents rather than PBS Moms (looking at you Amazon.)
Am I upset about the following things? Do I think we need to protest and petition PBS Parents? No.
It is because it was PBS Parents that it seemed out of place. On some random comedy page that loads your feed with goofy pictures and such I wouldn't have batted an eye. But it was PBS Parents and it was days before Father's Day.
I suppose I should explain now. A couple of days before Father's Day they put up a joke picture of dads in the baby food isle all on the telephone. The PBS Parents' staff add "Ha!" to the post.
And some people reacted. It was different than the Huggies kerfuffle or the THECALLMECODY's what moms do better than dads. It was more of, this doesn't seem to fit for this page.
It seemed out of place to me as well on the PBS Parents page. Especially a couple of days before Father's Day. Not the worse joke about dads, but still playing into the incompetent, have to run everything by mom first stereotype.
Like Huggies, PBS Parents got on and said it was a "celebration of dads."
But I cannot find other examples of PBS celebrating that way.
For mothers day it was, "A little reminder that being a good enough mother is great!"
So until I see the Roast of Elmo on PBS I'm not sure I buy it.
I can see Cookie monster now, "Elmo is so dumb he stopped at a stop sign and waited for it to say go."
So I don't hate PBS Parents. I don't think this is the end of the world. But I expect more from them. They have set the bar higher than playing into outdated stereotypes for some laughs and increased comments on Facebook.
And of corse the irony is they put out this helpful guide of Ways to Fight Stereotypes. And #7 is "Speak out against stereotypes or absences in the media."
So here I am PBS Parents. Taking your advice to speak out against stereotypes I see in the media. In this case on your Facebook page.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
When you posted your "Top 10 Things Mothers do Better than Fathers" I, like a bunch of other people, wrote a blog post about it. I spent a couple paragraphs on your post, but I wrote mostly about the responses it produced on the Babble Facebook page.
I am writing this response not to "get you." But I admit I have some concerns about your response to the controversy.
You start out by saying: "I also began to notice that the controversial posts were far more popular than the posts that tried to put real meaning behind the words. The realization of what people are interested in was more of a punch in the gut than anything. I decided to title a post, 'Top 10 Things Mothers Do Better Than Fathers.' It wasn’t my intention to offend fathers. It was written as a humor piece using personal examples from my own life."
Or as DADCAMP put it: "He wrote a personal fluff piece and gave it a generic headline to generate traffic. He admits he crafted it as link bait."
You seem to be simultaneously poking the bee hive and surprised the bees sting. Even though you said earlier that is exactly what happens.
And let me agree with you, some of the responses were over the top, and there are others of us that need to learn from this. But you need to learn from this too.
You have written some good stuff and maybe one of the good things to come out of this is people will read those as well.
Criticism is not fun. The first response is to become defensive. The same way the first response to a blog post using outdated stereotypes is to attack the author. It is a fairly new phenomenon that men are defending their image in the home as parents. Huggies found this out the hard way.
If you had titled the piece "10 Things My Wife Does Better Than Me" I don't think you would have gotten any of the negative responses. Ironically I doubt anyone would have challenged you parenting abilities if you had just made it about you. They attacked you because they felt attacked by you post. The response may have been nuclear, but you fired the first shot.
And simultaneously you seem to be saying, I made a controversial post and I know that brings out the worst in people, and I made a mistake and I don't understand why people acted so negatively.
If it was a mistake then you could have gotten ahead of this. When you saw the negative comments come rolling in you could have apologized and changed the language to be less inclusive. But then you wouldn't have continued to get the page views.
If it was just a matter of creating link bait, then the response is exactly what you would expect.
I am sure you are a nice enough guy, but I am having a hard time understanding which you believe it to be.
*This section has been removed because I attributed something to Cody that had actually been written by Cody's wife. My apologies to Cody.
Monday, May 14, 2012
And this list is nothing, if not predictable. You can read the entire list but they include things like taking care of injuries, bathing your child (because the author dad, when left to his own devices cannot remember) and of corse cooking. Yes, he blames all of his parenting inability on the fact that he has a penis. Despite the fact that their are men doctors and some of the greatest chefs in the world are men. His penis gets in the way of performing these most basic task.
Then, as they shared about, I went to the Babble Facebook page where they are pimping the article. They have a post that says:
"Finish this sentence. The one thing that mothers do better than fathers is ___________. (Then see what this dad said!)"
And the responses are typical.
"Change poopy diapers"
"Lol listing off things men CAN'T do doesn't count!"
"I can't stop laughing long enough to fill in that blank. One thing? Really? hahahahahaha"
"Everything" is a common one.
And through all the dad bashing one comment from JT Coonfield stood out to me.
"Yes Candace. Omg, when we were getting ready to go somewhere my husband sd he would fix our daughters hair. Well he was all proud and asked me to come look. I never laughed so hard in my life!!!"
Let's set the stage here. They are getting ready to go somewhere. The dad says he will take care of the daughters hair. Likely this dad didn't grow up doing little girls hair. I'm guessing he isn't an experienced hair designer and didn't take the class on styling little girl's hair at the At-Home Dads Convention. This may have in fact been the first time he has ever attempted to style a little girls hair.
And when he is done. Proud at what he has accomplished. What is the mother's response. To laugh hysterically (I mean she used three fucking exclamation points it was so funny.) How many things do you think this father now wants to related to his own child that he is not an expert in because he know what his wife response will be.
Imagine your kids come home with their first painting from school and your response was not to congratulate them and hang it on the refrigerator, but was to laugh hysterically at what a poor attempt at art that was.
And no, I am not saying that men are little kids that need to be coddled. I am saying anyone attempting something they are new at, when the response from people they care about is to laugh and make fun of them, are not going to be encouraged to keep trying.
And I imagine in this household that the next time the family is getting ready the mom is going to complain that the husband isn't helping out. "Why don't you ever help get our daughter ready?" The answer is found in your laughter.
And this is where I say to the ladies, you cannot have it both ways. If you want to live in a world where mommy knows best and you belittle your husband when he does help out. You can feel powerful and like you posses powers that your husband never will. Congratulations.
But then stop bitching about how your husband never helps out. How he is like having a another child.
You can't have it both ways.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Of corse we all know the rest of the story. Science showed that the earth did evolve around the sun. Now it is common knowledge and yet the Church and Christianity remain. If you do not also consider the truth of the world then God is not also creator. If God is the creator of the world then the truth of the observable world is also God's truth. Science began as the flip side of the same coin. Men studied God through scripture and nature.
With that in mind I want to look at one of the "gay" verses in the Bible.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." - Romans 1:18-32
Lets look at the people described in the passage.
They "exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things." And therefore, so the things that follow are because of these things listed before.
"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another" So this is where the anti-homosexual part comes in. But lets go a little further in this passage about these people.
"They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless."
It does not say that may be or perhaps they have a couple of traits, it says "they are." Now those of use who know or have known homosexual people know that this does not describe them. That is an observable truth. As the Church has in the past, some will try to deny the observable truth because they think it contradicts the Bible and the Bible cannot be wrong. As I think history has shown, this inevitably fails.
The other option is that what is being described in this passage is not all homosexual people. And as more science suggest that people are born gay we know that they were not turned that way by God because they "worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator."
We cannot ignore observable truth. We cannot ignore science. These too are God's truth. And if you ignore these to hold on to the "truth" you think is in the Bible you will not find the Truth in either place.
The truth will set you free.
Friday, March 09, 2012
It is true that the controversy caused by the Huggies campaign seems to be on its way to a resolution.
Many dads and moms were offended by the campaign theme of dad as the "ultimate test."
Hi, I’m Erik and I am responsible for the Huggies advertising you are seeing. We have read your feedback on our Dad commercials and, as a father of three young children, I recognize that we need to do a better job communicating the campaign’s message. Our singular goal with this campaign was to demonstrate the performance of our products in real life situations because we know real life is what matters most to Moms and Dads. A fact of real life is that dads care for their kids just as much as moms do and in some cases are the only caregivers. We intended to break out of stereotypes by showing that Dads have an opinion on product performance just as much as moms do. That said, we’re learning and listening, and, because of your response, are making changes to ensure that the true spirit of the campaign comes through in the strongest way possible. For instance, we have already replaced our initial TV ad with a new one that more clearly communicates our true intent; and are in the process of revising the wording of our online communications. We appreciate the honest feedback and look forward to the continued discussion on the brand.And they have changed the wording on the Nominate a Dad page.
So why I am writing a letter to Huggies now? Because it seems to me Huggies is at a crossroads. Is their goal not to offend dads or to actively engage dads as customers.
Looking through the post from Huggies on their web page all most all of them are directed to "mom." They literally begin with things like "Hey Moms."
It is OK to talk directly to moms, especially about certain aspects of pregnancy or your MomInspired Grants. But many of these post could have easily started with "Hey parents." If you want to engage with dads you don't always need to address them correctly, but you cannot address them as "mom."
If it is true, as there first response to the controversy said, that they wanted to "celebrate" fathers then I am guessing they are trying to find ways to include dads. I'm sure they know that dads buying of child related products is increasing not decreasing. And the 1/3 of every at-home parent is a dad.
And this campaign, even though it had dads in it was still marketed to moms. It wasn't speaking to dads it was speaking to moms about dads. In some ways it still is.
It may mean a radical change in corporate culture. It cannot be easy going from a product that was, since inception, targeted to moms and rethink that you need to target both moms and dads now.
So sure, changing your campaign to not offend dads is a first step. But it is up to Huggies now if it is a first step or if it is the conclusion. If they are satisfied with not offending dads or if they want to start marketing to dads as parents as well.
If they want to actually start marketing to dads, they still have a lot of work to do.
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Then Huggies comes along with their latest ad campaign, "the Dad Test" to remind us of another front we must fight. Actual Mad Men. Madison Avenue.
Here is some text from the Huggies campaign, "Help us prove that Huggies diapers can stop leaks better, and that our wipes can clean messes better, by putting them to the ultimate test...Dad."
That is right gentlemen. YOU are the ultimate test of diapers and wipes. We know you would let your child sit in soaking, stinky diapers a lot longer than any woman would. I mean a mom would know when to change a diaper, but your just a man. And men folk don't know how to do those things.
And how do you preform the ultimate test, "Hand him some diapers and wipes and watch the fun."
That's right ladies, not only is your man incompetent, but watching that incompetence provides lots of laughs and fun. I can hardly wait for the TV show that comes out of this campaign, because you know it is coming.
Let me be straight with you ladies. If the father of your children is incompetent and unable to take care of his own kids, well you picked him. But I wouldn't be laughing.
Then Huggies tried to come out and spin it, "We appreciate the discussion about our commercials, and wanted to give you a little background. Huggies recruited real Dads and their real babies to put our diapers and wipes to the test. Why? Because we love Dads. Many of us are Dads! And like Moms, we change diapers, wipe messes and are hands-on participants in raising kids. Yes, we could’ve done the Mom Test. But for the first time, we felt that Dads deserved to be celebrated just as much."
Oh, this was just a celebration of Dads. Oh thanks for clearing that up because I was confused by everything else written for the campaign that says the opposite. I sure feel like an idiot not recognizing that "Hand him some diapers and wipes and watch the fun" was a celebration of dad. And the way almost all your Facebook post begin with "Hey moms." What an idiot I am for not thinking you were thinking of dads as well. I don't know if you realize this, but there is this word you can used to address both moms and dads at the same time, PARENTS.
Congratulations Huggies, your spin may actually be more insulting than the original campaign.
And of corse the other bothersome thing is the vast amount of women on the Huggies Facebook page supporting the campaign. Comments that basically say, "shut up and know your place." I think that sounds familiar.
So Huggies, you blew it. Don't try spinning it again, just admit it.
And next time you want to Celebrate Dads, I know some you can talk to.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
My wife and I have been working our way through Mad Men on Netflix. It has taken a while as all the stars must align. Kids go to sleep at a decent hour. Two parents, neither so tired they fall asleep trying to get the 5 year old to sleep. It is a mini-miracle that we ever watch it.
I'm sure you have heard of the show if you haven't seen it. It is set in the 1960s ad agency. One of the interesting things to see in the show is the division of labor among the sexes. The men work in various executive jobs around the agency and the women are the secretaries.
One character, Peggy Olson, begins as a secretary and works her way into being one of the copywriters.
Today women make up half of the workforce and it is not uncommon for women to be in various positions up and down the corporate ladder. And while we have yet to reach full equality, women still make 77% of what men in the same job make, we certainly have seen advances in women in the workplace.
But these advances in women's roles in the workplace didn't just quietly happen. It took movements. It took organizations by women for women to fight for those rights and those opportunities. Women, together in numbers, standing up and fighting for equal opportunity and recognition.
And so today we have a mirror movement. Not in the workforce, but in the homeforce. Dads are becoming more involved in taking care of their kids and their homes. They seek work/home balance and some have voluntarily left the workforce to take care of their kids and their home full-time.
And like women did, we now have to battle on multiple fronts. Assaults come from all directions. Religious organizations that think this doesn't fit into God's plan, people in society that think men cannot and should not be in that role, and the government.
While we continue to battle on all fronts, right now we are focussing specifically on the government. There are a lot of articles to explain what the Census report means. Why it is important for the Census not to be sexist in their assumptions of chid care.
And if you agree, which I am sure you do because you are not some neanderthal that thinks "men work, woman stay home" is some genetic code instilled for eternity either through natural selection or an all knowing, all loving God that will otherwise send you to hell.
No, you know that these particular roles that have been assigned to men and women are cultural, and cultures change. They advance. And here is what you can do about.
You can go and sign the petition to get the Census to change they way they count child care.
You can go like the Dad's Don't Babysit facebook page, because you believe that to be true.
You can share our rallying cry,
DADS DON'T BABYSIT
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Dear Pastor Mark,
I just want to take this time to apologize. It is no secret that I am not a fan and I have spent some time recently pointing out times I think you are arrogant, a hypocrite, misinformed, obviously taking the Bible out of context and being a bully.
That includes pointing out what I thought was a terrible unfair misrepresentation of at-home dads in this video.
Some friends have told me about all the great work you do and I needed to look at the speck in my own eye. So I took some time to reflect, to watch the video again. And since doing that I am now offering up this apology to you.
Once I reflected back on my life I can see that you were right. I am "Little Boy Larry."
I grew up in a small midwestern town. And sure, I had some summer jobs. But looking back they were really lazy man jobs like bailing hay and walking beans. Even as a teenager I was on my way to lazy town.
Then I went to college. I don't think we even half to mention that academia is a synonym for lazy ass. Plus, in hindsight, I was obviously only after my MR degree. After graduation I did some freelance work (can't hold down a job.) Then decided to go to graduate school (already covered academia.)
It was in graduate school that I met the woman that would become my wife. While I didn't know originally what she was studying or wanting to do with her life, it seems obvious looking back that I was planning that she was either was from a wealthy Texas oil family or planning a career that could carry my lazy ass.
And boy was I in luck. She was becoming a doctor. Sure, I thought I was in love at the time, but as we know from the Bible, marriage is usually more of a business transaction.
At the end of that year I took a temporary (can't hold down a job) teaching job in Arkansas and she started medical school in San Antonio.
After completing my one year job I moved to San Antonio. I worked a couple of jobs (still can't hold down a job) including working for the DOD and St Phillips College. During that time my wife and I got married. Woooo Hoooo.
Sure, after we got married I continued to work because, well, medical school doesn't pay students, in fact it is the other way around.
After my wife graduated medical school we moved to Louisville for my wife's residency. Sure, my wife was a doctor, but residency doesn't pay well so I got a job as well at the University of Louisville. In the middle of that 3 years we had our first child. Since my wife was in residency I was the primary caregiver for our child while I continued to work full time. On the express lane to lazy town.
Then, when she finished residency and we moved for her first job I became a full time at-home dad. Easy Street! All I had to do was take care of an 18th month old child. Changing diapers, feedings, up every 3 hours, cleaning the house, laundry, cooking, shopping.
I found myself playing with the kids, just like you describe. Taking the lazy way out rather that the more macho sitting on the couch with drinks and watching the kids, like a man.
So, now reflecting on it I realize that you were right. I was just a "Little Boy Larry." Your wife stays at home, so you know that it isn't work. And, as you and your wife have explained, women are built by God to take care of kids, so it must be even easier for her. I would be surprised if she wakes up before noon.
Even my wardrobe is "Little Boy Larry." When I had a "real job" I wore slacks and ties and grown up clothes. Now my wardrobe consist of jeans and ironic t-shirts.
So I apologize and I thank you for continuing to harp on guys who provide for their family by raising their kids and taking care of their homes.
You have really opened my eyes.
Little Boy Larry