Mother Leaves, Too
Mr. Stuart C. Henrich is a teaching elder at South Side Bible Chapel, St. Louis, Mo. As never before the divine institution of the family is under Satan’s attack. In this, his first article in FOCUS, Mr. Henrich provides us with needful and helpful ministry on the responsibility of mothers.
In an article entitled, “Giving Women Second Chance in Textbooks,” the Globe Democrat, a St. Louis daily paper, points out the trend of instruction in today’s schoolbooks for children. From the Biblical viewpoint this instruction leads toward deterioration of the father-mother concept in the family and is, consequently, detrimental to the development of a child into a stable adult. “Publishers,” says the article, “are producing books that,” in the words of one book editor, “show the full range of possibilities for women.” These textbooks would be of value if the “possibilities” presented were those special places God has given women, but they are not! Instead of the role of “home keeper, help meet, or mother,” the woman is given the place of “co-provider” and, consequently, “co-head” with her mate.
The article continues, “Women today are as likely to be shown in a mechanic’s jumpsuit as a house dress and apron. When dad goes to work in the morning, the mother leaves, too — for her job as a doctor or veterinarian, pilot, a sky diver, forest ranger or business executive, police officer or politician.”
The effect of such teaching is devastating to the family:
Children, exposed to this literature, will have their minds and thinking conditioned to accept the concept “mother leaves, too” to help provide for the family. This concept of the mother and wife in the role of co-provider destroys the Biblical role of the father being the provider in accordance with Ephesians 5:29. His job of nourishing (ektrepho, to feed and care) as husband is obscured, and the dividing line between the role of father and mother is not only grayed but becomes lost. Thus the child is very subtly conditioned to disregard the father’s role as “head” of the family. With that loss goes the loss of the glorious type of the husband being “head” of the wife as Christ is “head” of the Church.
Not only is the role of the husband as head and the provider lost, but along with that loss the authority of the head of the family shifts itself, in part, to the other provider and mother tends to assume equality in authority in her own eyes and in the eyes of the children. This is contrary to the teaching of the Word of God, for the wife is to be “in subjection to” her own husband (1 Pet. 2:1) and “reverence her husband” (Eph. 5:33)
The wife, in assuming responsibilities that God intended only for her husband, begins to demand that he, in turn, share her responsibilities. She believes this not only fair, but necessary, simply because she can not adequately fulfill two roles, and since she is helping him to do his job, she should be helped to do hers. Frustration becomes part of her experience as she finds she cannot fulfill both roles as she should and this frustration is expressed in her relationship with her family in weariness and irritability.
These demands, imposed upon the wife, are not required by God but are often imposed by the demands of a higher standard of living than the husband’s salary can provide or by her wish to fulfill some latent desire for a career. As to the former, God would command, “Having food and clothing, let us therewith be content” (1 Tim. 6:8), and as to the latter, a woman, who desires to follow a career, should not even contemplate marriage until she is willing to make that her sole career.
The “mother leaves, too” concept is often adopted by newlyweds with unfavorable after effects. Living standards, based on two incomes, have to be readjusted when the wife quits her job and this is often difficult for both partners. Also, the habit of working outside the home can create discontent in the heart and mind of the wife when she finds she must assume the responsibilities of wife and mother as children are born into the family and she must now remain at home.
With the wife holding a job, the husband’s pleasure of coming home to an orderly house, a well-prepared meal and a “home keeping” job well done is lost. Instead, he finds his wife, wearied with her office or factory tasks, now having to busy herself with that which she should have been doing all day.
The children suffer most under the “mother leaves home, too” philosophy. In the mother’s absence, the children are left to themselves or in the hands of those who cannot possibly supply the loving care she could give if she would. The discipline and the training that are so absolutely essential to a child’s wholesome development in spirit and body are not provided as they should be and “a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov. 29:15) .
What is God’s answer to the “mother leaves, too” philosophy that is becoming the accepted pattern in our world today? The answer is found with our never changing God who, knowing that which will make us happiest, has given instructions for a happy, wholesome family life.
In Titus 2:3-5 we have the following instructions:
The older women are exhorted to “teach the younger women”
1. “To love their children!” Real love will cause a mother to want the best for her child — her best is giving herself to being the mother God would have her to be.
2. To be “keepers at home.” A home-keeper has the high calling of making a house a “home.” This means providing good, nourishing, interesting meals; clothing her household; and maintaining a clean house and an atmosphere of loving care.
3. To be “obedient to their husbands.” This means submissively assuming the place God has given her under her husband’s love and protection as her “head” and not having to be obedient to a boss in a workaday world.
The husband is to be the provider for the family, for “if any provide not for his own, especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Tim. 5:8).
The children are to be taught by the fathers, being brought up in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4), rather than in the humanistic world-view that is fast becoming the accepted philosophy of our day.
Will obedience to God’s Word prove effectual in ordering a successful home life? We have His Word for it — Joshua 1:8 & 9.