Guest Post: Mom and Dad Together, as It Should Be
Jim DalyJim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
- 2013 Oct 22
Today I’m sharing a piece by Alliance Defense Fund’s senior opinion editor and writer, AWR Hawkins. As you may know, ADF is on the forefront of the effort to preserve the timeless, universal, and unique institution of marriage. In this piece, Hawkins makes the case for the lifelong union of a husband and wife.
Home is a place with a function. It is the roof under which Mom and Dad, together in marriage, ground and raise a family. It is a place where children love and learn and build memories they carry within themselves for decades to come.
I remember being a child at home in Kentucky. When the sun began to set in the late autumn sky, I knew mom would be home any moment -- because she always got home from work about 6:30 p.m.
Anticipating her arrival, I would stand on the cushions of the couch in the front room of our house and press my face against the glass of the picture window -- straining to see down the road so I could spot her headlights coming around the corner before my brother or sister did.
And every night, she came home without fail. This was not lost on me -- this was her home.
Once home, Mom would find my father drinking coffee -- he got home at 5:30 p.m. -- and my brother and sister and me waiting for a hug (and some dinner).
Like so many memories of Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, these memories concern essential matters: they were formed alongside relationships which cannot be duplicated -- an essential family structure which cannot be replaced.
These kinds of things don't just make life -- they are life. And they stay with us.
So why do we deny these great benefits and experiences to generations around us by trying to redefine the family? In so doing, we are pursuing change that is literally detrimental.
When activists use the judicial branch or the legislative branch to set up a situation where Tommy has two dads or Susie has two moms -- instead of a mother and father-they deny these children the home they need in which to develop at their best.
Moreover, they undermine the "child-centric" structure that builds adults who wax nostalgic about fishing with Dad, baking with Mom, or taking a family vacation in a car that kept everyone cramped up for hours -- but no one minded.
E.J. Graff made this point in Retying the Knot when she wrote that redefining marriage "is a breathtakingly subversive idea" that transforms marriage from an institution that exists to join mother and father for the benefit of their children into a poorly fashioned, adult-focused replication that "will ever after stand for sexual choice, for cutting the link between sex and diapers."
Part of the home's function is the way it is constructed for the family as a whole, rather than for an individual (or individuals). Its beauty lies in the safety and strength it provides to children who are raised by a mother and father committed to equipping them to one day raise their family in a similar way.
Graff's point is that this focus is not passed from one generation to the next once marriage redefinition occurs, because the very redefinition of it changes its focus from a family's needs to an individual's -- dare we say sexual -- desires.
Why are so many willing to take away a child's opportunity to press his or her face against the glass and yearn for Mom to be home with Dad, where the whole family can sit together and children can learn early lessons about structure, authority, and joy? And what will we say to children when they one day ask why they have been intentionally deprived of the love of either a father or a mother?
Many things change with time, but the structure of essential matters -- like the family -- ought never change.