Does 'Equal Parenting' Work?
- Wednesday, June 18, 2008
But then break out the couples in which both husband and wife have full-time paying jobs. There, the wife does 28 hours of housework and the husband, 16. Just shy of two to one, which makes no sense at all.
The article is both extensive and substantial, and the questions she raises are important. Why do women still do most of the parenting and the domestic work? The assumption of the researchers cited in the article seems to be that this stubborn imbalance must reflect either a refusal by men to do what they should do or a reluctance by many women to liberate themselves from old roles and expectations.
What seems to be unthinkable is nevertheless very hard to resist -- what if this enduring reality points to something objectively different in terms of the gifts, passions, intuitions, and roles of men and women . . . fathers and mothers?
One key and unavoidable insight of all this research is the fact that egalitarianism doesn't end up being very egalitarian in reality. Mothers are still mothers, and fathers are still fathers -- and there is still a difference. Those who operate from a secular worldview informed by feminism must assume that this is just another representation of enduring cultural prejudice. Those operating from an evolutionary worldview will be tempted to suggest that this is evidence of the enduring power of ancient adaptations.
The Christian, operating out of a biblical worldview, must see this as an affirmation of the fact that men and women are assigned complementary, and not identical roles. As fathers, men are called to loving leadership in the home, and this will mean an active and loving engagement with his children. The Christian father will love his children no less than the Christian mother, but his role will not be the same.
There is certainly no shortage of men who are lazy, unfaithful, and disengaged from family life, but this does not answer the question The New York Times Magazine is asking. The idea of "equal parenting" is not just unrealistic, it is unreal. Reality can be a hard thing to accept, but it is also a hard thing to resist.
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. For more articles and resources by Dr. Mohler, and for information on The Albert Mohler Program, a daily national radio program broadcast on the Salem Radio Network, go to www.albertmohler.com. For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to www.sbts.edu. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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