FIC aftermath, part three ~ exhausted, discouraged, and disenfranchised moms

 

I have come to a conclusion….homeschooling moms are tired.

I know this isn’t exactly a newsflash but it is true. Between all the schoolwork, dishes, laundry, toilet scrubbing, gardening, shopping, vacuuming, nursing, cooking, baking, caring for little ones, listening to older kids, and taking them thither and yon to events, lessons, games, practices, church commitments, birthday parties, etc., moms are tired. I would tell them to take a nap but just the logistics required to pull that off are nearly impossible most days. And this doesn’t even begin to address the emotional exhaustion that adds to the mix. Homeschooling moms are tired.

Here is another conclusion that I have come to based on my own experiences and on the feedback from these podcasts….homeschooling moms who go to churches that are part of the FIC movement are really tired but are shamed into never saying that they are. Let’s take a look at just a few things that are required of women in more than one FIC church:

 

• militant fecundity is central to their roles: Churches schedule special nights where movies are shown that tell them they must out produce the Muslims who have an average of 8 children. They must marry young, have as many children as possible, often in a “racing” atmosphere, and some practice early weaning to increase their fertility. Young couples feel the expectations of having honeymoon babies and though many couples practice birth control, they keep it under wraps.

 

• frequent hospitality is expected: Sunday becomes anything but the Sabbath, Sweet Day of Rest as families must prepare meals to take for weekly potlucks and often for guests, some overnight, who drive 2 to 3 hours each Sunday for worship services. Families are encouraged to practice Sunday evening fellowship in their homes and also at least one day during the week. Because of the view of how the Sabbath is to be observed, this sometimes begins on Saturday evening and also means there is not to be carry-out food purchased on Sunday. Some churches do not allow rowdy play among children on the Sabbath either, adding to the tension.

 

•Since age segregation is a sin and since there is no nursery, moms rarely have a break from childcare. While little ones in worship should never be discouraged, the long nature of these services along with the unrealistic requirements of the behavior of small children creates tension and shame among moms. Adversarial child rearing methods are expected of all parents. Leaders in this movement have stated that children might have to be spanked up to 30 times a day and that each time requires “spanking unto repentance.” Several moms have shared their concerns that they have seen children removed from the service 4 and 5 times to be taken into spanking rooms, harshly punished, and returned so as to train them to be completely still in the pews. Other mothers have stated how frustrating it is to hear or see the little ones coming and going into these room, to hear the hits and the crying, and especially for their own children to witness it. If they are moms who have chosen a grace centered approach with their own children, they feel judged and shamed. Adding to this is the frustration many have over never being able to participate in worship and spending years if not decades in nursing mother rooms that typically have no speaker system for at least hearing a sermon. Since their time for Bible study and meaty theological discussion is limited at home, they are frustrated.

 

• Real relationships are an enigma to many women: Many moms, though they are interested in having some sort of involvement with their kids as they become young adults, think the level of control in these circles is way out of line. Betrothal is the norm and is even taught as well as practiced; even some arranged marriages are starting to pop up. As has been mentioned in the previous post, ridiculous control over that process is expected and if a family chooses to have a different approach they feel judgment. Relationships with younger children are also a struggle because of the hierarchy that has been established and the organic nature of shifting from mother/child to mother/friend is absent. Many FIC’s teach parental authority that goes way beyond Scripture. Several have expressed their concern for young people who are in FIC’s and are only biding time to leave home and church. I personally know this is true and have corresponded with a few young men and women in this situation. They are not only questioning the FIC beliefs but Christianity in general. Moms are worried and fearful, especially for their daughters, their future marriages, and that they will be as tired as all the women around her are.

 

• Women are disenfranchised: In many FIC’s, women are not allowed to be voting members in their own right, even if they are single mom heads of households, and they are not allowed to be part of congregational meetings or public discussions in matters that affect all church members. The assumption is that they can privately express their concerns to their own husbands but not their objections to church polity or policy. Though many women in FIC’s actually consider themselves to be complementarian, they see the ever increasing slip into patricentricity in their churches and they are horrified. More recently holding Old Testament patriarchy up as a standards scares them; they wonder if the obsession for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will bring about polygamy. The disregard for the government and the fear that is instilled in them, similar to what happened prior to Y2K, makes them realize that external accountability is not a possibility for them.; church and husband authority are all that matter. They also are concerned about the pressures they see their husbands experiencing…..supporting really large families on one income, the stress that husbands to have their own businesses and not “increase the gain of others,” the teachings that they are prophet, priest, and king in their homes, thus responsible for all the spiritual lives of their wife and children, the man role playing they are supposed to embrace, the adversarial relationships. More than one wife has told me how happily married they were until patriarchy destroyed their homes. Some survive; others do not. Since many teachings include the idea that everything is somehow the fault of a woman and her lack of submission, she is again shamed and defeated. She is then told that her health problems are the result of unconfessed sin and forced to “repent” of whatever the leadership says her sin might be.

 

Any thoughts?

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Comments

  1. Keri says

    Militant What??..I would say..Run for the hills!!

    On a more serious note..As a homeschool mom..yes we get tired but these expectations are unbelievable! I am thanking the Lord for a husband who does not expect to have me doing all of these things.

    Sadly,I have known those in homeschool circles who encourage their kids to marry really young and start having babies.I don’t understand the mindset of a christian parent who can honestly think this is a good idea and I have come to realize that just maybe they may not be Christian.They are fooling themselves and their children.

    My family survived after attending a church where everything looked really good at the beginning.Over some time we began to see that we had some real differences with these people.I know this sounds crazy..but they seemed to buck authority.The first time my older kids came home and said they did not wear seat belts in trucks because by law they didn’t have to..I told them to make sure if they rode with them to just put on their belts. First time I rode with one of them with a toddler and asked for the seatbelt to be taken out(it was hidden under seat) I was give a look and the thing was yanked out so I could put it on my toddler,and this from a grown man.This guy was furious with me for the rest of the day.

    My husband was told he didn’t have to pay taxes or take his turn at jury duty.
    I was given a major lecture when I told them I wore pants at home.These were things we were watching closely because in all honesty from the pulpit..you would NEVER have known.It was the time we began to spend with them personally.

    They had kids our kids age and we did have some things in common.We began to notice there was a major lack in discretion.I mean..they all wore the “right” clothes and did the right things in church but it all began to sadly unravel. Without going into details I will just say after 3 years we left.Hard on kids and friendships.We never told our kids they couldn’t speak to them so for several months it continued on with several of them telling our grown kids they needed to move out etc.etc..

    It’s been 6 years and our family survived some of the hardest things we have ever had to go through.Our grown kids were staggering under the hypocrasy of it all.They survived and still go to church.

    Our former pastor has resigned from that church because of the mess of it all(we were not happy that happened)and he and his wife now attend the church we are at.A little awkward at first but we have all gotten past it.

    My advice for families who might be in churches like that are to get out as fast as you can.Get into a real church where the Gospel is Preached and the people live it.The Gospel was preached at this other church..That’s what was so scary..but the lives that were lived is a complete other story.Of course there is no perfect church but there has to be a balance.Our former pastor is not on staff at the church we attend now.

    There is still ongoing drama that continues over everything that happened at that church but not with my family anymore..with several other families and it is sad.I am so thankful we left before the destruction of my family..We did everything we could to talk to them and make it work..but what would you do if..

    A married woman was going after the young man that your grown daughter was beginning to form a relationship with.At first I thought I was imagining it because she was my friend.When it became clear that I wasn’t..I thanked God for stopping it before it became more serious..He backed away from my daughter and was led by her..

    Another young man in his mid 20’s having a relationship with a 14 yr.old girl in the church..Yep..I’d smack my son with a two by four if this was happening with him..He married the girl 3 yrs. later when she was 17 with the parents full permission.He was 27 by then.She was the daughter of the woman I mentioned above..I was constantly told that they considered him an uncle..yep.

    Second daughter of above woman going after another young man in the church and the entire family left the church when the young man asked the new pastor if he would marry them.She was 15 and he was 23 at the time.Mentioned just a few dramas here simply to say that..

    These were the pastors sons..Sometimes I look back at it all and think..How did this all happen?..I don’t dwell on it..but I do know that this craziness exists even amongst homeschoolers and church..Get out..you can survive and flourish with the Lord’s help only.Fight Hypocrasy with Truth!!

  2. Kris says

    I have to say that some of this thinking exists among home schoolers who don’t even attend FIC churches. There are a couple of mom’s in my home school group who left the same church we did earlier this year who would no longer get together with me because I had no girls. I have only one son, no other siblings. It was very hurtful. One told me that she didn’t want me to watch her kids because I don’t have girls. I thought that was crazy. My son needs to learn to be around others and girls are a part of that. I can understand that they need girls as friends, but to totally alienate or isolate someone because they don’t have girls or many kids is wrong. There are many home schoolers who are judgemental of small families and have no idea of the reasons why they might be small. I do want to note that one of these mom’s will spank her kids in public and really like’s the Pearl teachings. I no longer see her anymore since she is moving away.

    I don’t think that this is the way God intended us as Christians to relate to and love each other. It’s not God’s truth. Previous to this blog, I bought into alot of this stuff and no longer. It is the truth of scripture being twisted to someone’s best interests. This all is crazy as well. Where is the Holy Spirit in the church? I don’t see His guidance and counsel in any of this! Great blog post.

  3. says

    As much as I consider myself free of the FIC mindset now, reading this made me realize there are still residual effects–particularly shame over my homemaking struggles. There is still a little voice in my head that compares myself to the “perfect” homeschooling/big family moms I know and wishes I could have it together like they do. In my head I know it is an illusion, but my emotions are well-trained otherwise.

  4. Granddad says

    Ladies, I cannot tell you how sad reading your stories makes me feel. I wish I had some words of encouragement for you, but I don’t. I can tell you, though, I doubt that I’m the only grandfather in the world who wishes he could do something. I don’t know how you find folks like my wife and me, but I am certain “we’re” out there.

  5. Anthea says

    Karen, what does this tell you about my life? I spent yesterday evening listening to your podcast on Abigail Adams while washing up. Yes, that far back. I found some old radio shows and mp3s on a USB stick, and thought I’d have a listen. Pure radio gold.

    If you want a lift, please listen to these podcasts ladies.

    Re this post: a) Is that you in the photo? b) There’s enough pressure on us with our own dreams and plans for our lives, the sceptical eyes of “schooling” people watching for us to fall on our backsides, and Satan the accuser having a little pop at us. We don’t need theological weiry weirdness as well.

  6. MamaV says

    I’ve been reading these articles but I guess I am confused. We currently attend a church that is FIC because after three years of trying to get my little one into children’s church we decided it was better for us as a family to worship together. I love our church and it is nothing like the ones you’ve described. There are many homeschooling families in our church (including the pastor) and people are warm. I’ve never experienced any shaming and from the moment I walked in that first day. I felt completely refreshed that there were children everywhere worshipping. The church website says its a family integrated church but is the church you are discussing associated with a particular denomination? I don’t see any red flags like this but I obviously would NOT want to be part of a congregation that shames people and spanks their babies in church!!

  7. says

    I am applauding you for the post! It needed to be said. I was only in this scene for a short time, thank GOD! But I see so much of what you said to be true, not just in FIC but general homeschooling culture.

  8. says

    Keri, those stories are stunning but not surprising. Once attending college for daughters (and most sons) has been ruled out by people like Kevin Swanson, Voddie Baucham, and Doug Phillips and daughters have been taught that there is only one non-optional role for women, that of being wives and mothers (taught by Stacy McDonald and Jenny Chancey, AND the Duggars have been placed on a pedestal by Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips as the godly family to emulate, is it any wonder that girls are being “given in marriage” at such young ages. Boggles the mind.

  9. says

    Kris, your story about girls playing with boys is crazy stuff. I think it goes back to ideas that come from the Vision Forum toy catalog and other places where very distinctive play for each gender is emphasized.

  10. says

    Stephanie, believe me, I can tell you that after all these years and all this research I still have those moments. 16 years ago we had a house fire and even though there was massive cleaning and the entire house was stripped to the studs and rebuilt, sometimes I can still smell that horrid smoke residue at one spot in the upstairs hallway. It is the same thing about patriarchy and they are so good at name calling and manipulating guilt!

  11. says

    You all are correct…so much of these things has permeated the entire homeschooling culture….how can it not when the purveyors of these teachings keynote so many of the homeshooling conventions around the country! And believe you me, there is a concerted effort to keep the rest of us off the speaking lists!!!

  12. says

    MamaV, I am so thankful you have not shared the experiences we have talked about. While I do not know if there is any one denomination where these things occur more often than others, my guess is that rigid Presbyterian polity combined with their hyper covenantal views seems to be a breeding ground for this stuff, though some of the major FIC proponents are Baptist. However, true Baptists ought to hold to the priesthood of the believer and eschew the hierarchial nonsense. I, too, love hearing children in worship and for the most part ours always were with us. There are seasons of maturity with little ones where it is really hard…when they first discover their little voices, it is hard for them to understand why the same sounds they make at home that illicit praise from us are not appropriate in church. I also think God put the wiggle in little ones and it was never His intention for them to be forced to sit stone still for hours on end. Many of the techniques in these circles really betrays the lack of understanding of child development and some of these people even mock attempts to discuss it, claiming that all child development is “psychobabble” and contrary to Scripture. Yada yada!

  13. Grace says

    Well, I know two women who are in the FIC movement. I don’t know if it will help, but I’ll share my experience. They are a bit creepy. Okay, the one is creepy and the other seems like she’s slowly being brainwashed. The one (Mrs. Creepy) is growing her hair long, in order to hide her concealed weapon better. Now, I’m not opposed to guns, but living in paranoia is NOT a biblical principle (and I’m not so sure having a toddler around a loaded concealed weapon is a good idea, but what do I know?).

    I didn’t know about the spanking rooms (shiver), but the less-creepy one had made comments that her kids are not like Mrs. Creepy’s kids…that were so well behaved. (Personally, I think this is like making your child drive a car–they are NOT ready yet!!!!) Everything you wrote, they have discussed (just not so candidly). I see the reason they are discussing it is because they think everyone should conform to THEIR thinking. And I forgot, I know another lady too in the FIC. She did a whole talk at one of Home School Moms Meetings about that our kids should be ready for adulthood at 13, like the Jewish women of the OT were.

    I’ve heard the whole idea of having numerous kids (to combat the Muslims–and it’s also because they believe we are to take over the world and make it ready for Jesus to come back, and we have to have MORE Christians than Muslims, etc.) which 2 of the 3 are doing. Even after the one mom is already 42 years old…and just had her 6th baby (they started late b/c of course they were in SIN!). Vision Forum and Doug Phillips are HUGE proponents of this thinking; and has made a BIG deal about the evils of birth control. We need to be sure we are checking anything these men say is Biblical against the Bible to see if they are right, or just legalistic, or crazy.

    Voddie Bachaum spoke at our home school convention and I believe he is a STRONG proponent also for the FIC (maybe you could confirm this?)…he had a whole session showing that home churches are EVIL (not kidding). I guess he’ll have to rip out these verses from his Bible: Romans 16:3-5; 1 Cor 6:19; Col 4:15; and Philemon 1-2. Even though he really has some good things to say, we need to be discerning and make sure we are not swallow poison along with the good. There’s always some truth in every lie.

    The other concerns I’ve seen, you’ve already brought up in some of your posts I’ve read: women aren’t allowed to speak in church (although, since they ARE the Church, I don’t see how that works), birth control is a no-no, men are the unbiblical domineering leaders (not the Biblical ones), and anyone who is not doing it like you are in sin and aren’t as spiritually mature.

    You asked what I thought? Well, I think we are in the days of apostasy that God’s word discusses and I have to encourage everyone to LEAVE the FIC organization because it’s quite apparent it’s NOT of the Lord. We also need to be discerning…in this day and age if we are not, then we are already deceived.

    You can be a home school mom who loves the Lord and teaches her children to genuinely love the Lord too, while not being liberal or legalistic. It’s possible.

    2 Peter 3 “14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things (the coming of the Lord), be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people TWIST to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

  14. Heather says

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19993193

    Karen, this link is to an interview with a young woman who was forced to work as a prostitute by a man who totally controlled her. I found her description of how he treated her to be horribly similar to the stories of Christian women who have controlling, demanding, abusive husbands.

    I think if anyone listens to what she says about what life was like with him – not the prostitution part, but the fear and the despair – and finds similarities with how their spouse acts, maybe it will open some eyes and bring freedom.

  15. overwhelmed mom says

    This is kind of off topic, but it was mentioned in the post. You mentioned that members of fic churches are encouraged to use spanking. There are so many books out there by these people that give practical and easy to follow advice on disciplining and raising children using spanking. I don’t want to go that route but all the books/blogs I’ve read on grace based parenting or gentle parenting seem to just discuss the why but not the how. I have 4 young children I’m homeschooling (and a “surprise” 5th on the way which completely is overwhelming to me). Are there any grace/gentle based parenting books that are practical that actually give ideas to follow if you want to have a house full of little children that isn’t chaos (not just the why but the how!!). I think that is why the spanking method is so attractive sometimes because it seems like it would bring quicker results and a more peaceful home (at least in the short run). Sorry to vent, it is just so frustrating. It is so hard to find any practical advice on creating a peaceful home with consequences that don’t just rely on spanking.

  16. says

    @overwhelmed mom: A couple of resources are the Gentle Christian Mothers forum (http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/community/) and the Christian Unschooling group on Facebook.

    I’ve raised my kids to teenhood using attached parenting/discipleship living and limited amounts of traditional discipline. Feel free to look me up on Facebook (CathiLyn Dyck) if you want to talk child-raising…us moms gotta stick together. 🙂

    Grace revolves around principles rather than techniques, which is why I think so much is said about the “why” and relatively little about the “how.” But we do discuss the “how” in online support groups when questions arise about specific circumstances.

  17. Anthea says

    Hello Karen

    In your previous post, you mentioned that the churches’ inability to deal with weaknesses in youth work were driving families into the arms of FIC churches. Another issue is that home educating mothers find certain groups attractive because they (we?) want to be validated. If they are not finding the support or encouragement within trad church circles, then a website, book, meeting or speaker who seems to be “backing me up” will be attractive.

    I have to say that there is little to no encouragement within modern secular and Christian culture for me in my endeavours. Occasionally, there will be a balanced book, such as Kay Arthur’s ‘Marriage Without Regrets”. And of course your blog has a mix of interesting and edifying topics. But for many home educating homemakers, we have to make it on our own. Not everyone can be the fish swimming the other way from the rest of the shoal, and that’s one reason why women end up linking themselves to a group. When it starts to turn nasty, they will be told by the controlling leaders that there is nowhere else to go, all the other churches are like this or that. But the women may well have decided within themselves that they would rather stay in an environment where they are not subjected to gossip or judgement because they are home educating/homemakers/ have more than 2 children …

  18. says

    Anthea, you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. I think many of us have been there…willing to work within a system that we think allows us to enjoy being homeschooling moms and have large families. However, there are so many, many places that are accepting of us outside of the FIC culture and I believe that will only continue to grow.

  19. says

    Grace! Your story about the woman’s hair being grown long to conceal weaponry peaked my interest. I have heard of several FIC’s where the issue of concealing weapons is pretty common, even in states where it is illegal. Have also heard of armed guards in these churches who conceal weapons. Shuddering when I think of the curious nature of that many toddlers running around and at the thought of dads or young men being hauled off to jail. There is a lot of paranoia in these groups. Our first experience was during Y2K but with the economy the way it is right now people are primed for fearmongers.

  20. overwhelmed mom says

    Thanks for the resources about grace based/gentle parenting. I am already reading through some of the forum questions.

    A quick comment on the concealed weapons in church. Theoretically I support concealed weapons permits, however, practically there can be a lot of problems. My husband is a cop and a supporter of 2nd ammendment rights in general. However, in his experience there are a lot of people out there with concealed weapons that are hot heads and not properly trained. A lot of these people seem to view carrying a concelaed gun as cool, exciting or as something they must do because its “their right” to do it. These are the people he is afraid of. There are several people in our church who carry concealed weapons. Because of the nature of his job, my husband is constantly aware of his surroundings and always observing what’s going on (kinda creeps me out sometimes :)… ). Every Sunday he makes sure he locates those people in the service who he knows carry because, on the very unlikely chance that someone were to come into the church threatening the congregation with a gun, not only would he have to worry about the “bad guy” but also about the people in the congregation that are going to whip out their guns in the heat of the moment and not think about who is going to get caught in the crossfire. It is a potential nightmare. And it is people with the mindset of the FICers that would probably be the first to whip out their guns since it seems many fanatical type people seem to be welcome a reason to use a gun. A gun is a tool, not a toy and should only be used when absolutely necessary. And why exactly is it necessary for so many people to carry a gun to church?? Geesh.

  21. Anthea says

    “And why exactly is it necessary for so many people to carry a gun to church?? Geesh.”

    Why would you need a gun in church when you have a Sword?

    I couldn’t resist it. I will go away now …

  22. says

    Grace, I loved your comment “women aren’t allowed to speak in church (although, since they ARE the Church, I don’t see how that works)”. Yes, Voddie B. is an advocate of FIC–I have his book Family Driven Faith and FIC is a component of “doing what it takes” to raise a godly family. Growing hair long in order to better hide your concealed weapon? That IS creepy!! I’m all for gun rights but good grief.

    Overwhelmed Mom, I know exactly what you mean about spanking being the quick, practical, easy route to a more peaceful home. But looking back on the years that we spanked our kids I can see how selfish it was. Behavior modification did work, especially on my compliant-natured children, and so we did get results but at the expense of understanding our kids and knowing their hearts. We took the easy way out by spanking, though at the time we did not see it that way. I was so tired and I just wanted peace and I wanted my kids to get with the program (MY program). I didn’t want to expend time and energy to figure out my kids and their unique personalities and be more creative and loving in my guiding and disciplining.

  23. Laura(southernxyl) says

    Overwhelmed mom, your question about exactly how to discipline your children if you don’t spank them is an excellent one. If you decide to not spank, you have to anticipate that there will be times when your precious children drive you to the brink so that you could twist their heads off, and have some kind of plan for dealing with that. Here is a story about a mom who was so irritated at her daughters for bickering in the car that she put them out on the street and drove away, and yes, was arrested for endangering them. I thought about this when I read your comment, because my first thought back when this happened was that she let the bickering go too long because she didn’t have a plan for dealing with it and then she “snapped”. If your kids learn that “stop that or I’ll spank” is not an empty threat, and you use it early on before you ever reach that point of irrationality, I don’t think that’s the worst thing that can happen.

  24. Nellie says

    Kris,
    I have some thoughts about why families with girls didn’t want to play with your son. As you know, among this crowd there’s some extreme obsession over gender issues. Unfortunately, these things are projected onto children too. I have a relative involved in Gothard/FIC. With this family, there is hyper concern about young people of all ages mixing because they might have “lustful” thoughts about each other. Further, they might be tempted to do something about these thoughts. This even applies to pre-pubescent kids. As a manifestation of such obsession, the mom chastised another a family member for her adult daughter chatting online with her adult male cousin, ages 25 and 30, respectively. Mind you, this adult woman is married, is a “good girl”, and does not act inappropriately toward men, and certainly not male relatives. The male cousin behaves likewise. How ridiculous that this woman views their online interaction as something wrong!?! There was another situation where this parent wouldn’t let her daughters around an older male in a group situation because she thought he was the type who might have lustful thoughts about them. Well, gee, if we’re going to fret over anybody who might have lustful thoughts about us or our family, why don’t we just lock the door and stay home all the time?

    Don’t take it personally. When people are infected with such nonsense beliefs, common sense will never reign. I hate to sound uncaring, but these are not friends that will be good friends. I do think children of all ages, regardless of gender, should have good supervision. Children are children and can do things that are inappropriate, and we must be diligent. However, there is no reason that concerns can’t be dealt with by rules and boundaries. For example, we don’t allow our kids to shut bedroom doors when they have a friend over, even if it’s a same sex friend. I also do impromptu checks wherever they are in the house. Why parents just can’t be parents, and instead forbid things outright is craziness.

  25. Ruth says

    A thought crossed my mind….if the FIC people are so enamored with having a LOT of children “just like the patriarchs..” well, it seems to me that the partriarchs had so many children from multiple wives…which means that each mom would have tended her OWN children, and all that work did not rest on the shoulders of ONE woman. Also, in Biblical times I believe it was common for women to have servants who helped out around the house. How can these men expect these women to keep up with homeschooling, a home, etc. all by themselves? If a man believes this drivel, he better get to work to afford some household help for his wife. What would happen if all the women in these situations took off for a WEEK and left the MAN to do all the teaching, cleaning, feeding? How far would the movement go?

  26. Kelly says

    overwhelmed mom – I understand! I have been searching and looking for “grace-based” ways to discipline my children, and I have yet to find helpful practical ways to deal with day-to-day issues with my kids. I know each family is different and as parents, we are given the responsibility to figure out the best ways that work with our family, but it sure would be nice to have a few practical helps to jump off from. For instance, my 4yo daughter is very strong-willed, and also has ADHD. Now, she has been extremely helped by participating in the Feingold Program but her God-given, strong will is, of course, not gone. I don’t know how to work with her.

    I am confident, though, that after much practice and prayer I will come to find the discipline and training that works best with her personality and individual needs.

    On another topicL

    Incidentally, I think special-needs kids are unfortunately overlooked in the FIC churches. When the only action in discipline is spanking, and it doesn’t work on special needs kids, then it becomes abuse. When I was in a FIC church (which was part of the Covenant Presbyterian denomination), no one ever encouraged me to look into seeing if my daughter had any physical or mental problems that might need to be addressed. It was ALWAYS “spank spank spank.”

  27. Kelly says

    This —–> ” frequent hospitality is expected”

    The fellowship meal after church when we attended a FIC almost did my hubby and I in. We had four very young children at the time, and because my hubby is a very involved parent, we both ran ragged keeping our cranky children (1st they had to sit through a service completely still and then they were not allowed to get the wiggles out afterward because heaven forbid they get rowdy!) happy until we could finally got home around 4pm. Church for 6 hours was so much and neither my husband or I got rest. I ended up dreading Sunday and I remember crying to my husband once “God must hate parents, because He taunts us with a command to rest on the Sabbath and then doesn’t give us any means to!”

    Also, I had to cook every Sunday. I’m sorry, but wrestling many young children into getting ready on a Sunday morning and then having to cook on top of it all is a bit much. I get tired just thinking about all I had to do. . .

  28. says

    Kelly, you really hit a hot button with me re: the special needs children and discipline within these churches. (It really is a problem in any church that embraces adversarial parenting methods.) Having a son I now believe is somewhere on the Asperger’s scale, it was really hard to “integrate” him into the mix. I remember one of the moms who was just outright afraid of him and wouldn’t allow here children to be near him. She never bothered to talk to me about him or even ask about his special needs. Instead, she chose to gossip about us and her disdain came not only in what I observed but what I heard.

    In one situation, one of the elders had zero tolerance for him. One Sunday this elder’s family was home ill and my son waited to talk to the man just to tell him that he would be praying for his family. I got so weepy watching this exchange….the elder had dismissed him, talking to every other person who came along first before he even acknowledged his existence. I have often thanked God for giving our son to us and giving us the grace needed to meet his needs. Had he been in one of these adversarial homes, I fear what might have happened to him. So many of these people cannot wrap their heads around the fact that there are true, genuine physical problems that affect behavior. To then, whether it is kids or wives, it is all sin.

  29. says

    “I ended up dreading Sunday and I remember crying to my husband once ‘God must hate parents, because He taunts us with a command to rest on the Sabbath and then doesn’t give us any means to!'”

    Oh, Kelly. It wasn’t God doing that to you, it was other people lying to you about his expectations. I’m glad you got out of that.

    …Disciplining without spanking. I remember having my daughter do writeoffs: “Daddy told me to get my things off the table” 100 times, or “I will not put foreign objects in my mouth” 50 times, things of that nature. The first writeoff we did was probably when she was about four or five. My husband was lying down because he didn’t feel well. I’d asked my daughter several times to play quietly, which she was very able to do, but she was more or less rebelliously continuing to be noisy, so I wrote “Mommy asked me to play quietly” on a piece of paper and made her copy it. She did, and it took her a while, and on the back she wrote some approximation of “nobody loves me”. Which I took for what it was worth – missy was angry at being corralled right then – and laughed about when she couldn’t see me. She did quiet down, so it got the job done.

    The thing about using writeoffs, or making the child write a paragraph about why what she did was naughty, which I did a couple of times in late elementary school years, is that this only works if you have the child’s obedience. If you tell the child to do the writeoff and she says “no” then that is a different kettle of fish.

  30. says

    Ruth, yes, speaking of the wives of patriarchs:
    Sarah (Abraham) was the mother of 1, Hagar (Abraham) was the mother of 1, Rebekah (Isaac) was the mother of 2, Rachel (Jacob) was the mother of 2, Leah (Jacob) was the mother of 7, Zilpah (Jacob) was the mother of 2, Bilhah (Jacob) was the mother of 2
    It was not normative for a patriarch’s wife to have more than 2 children, Leah being an exception.
    And with the uncleanness rituals pertaining to menstruation, women had about 12 days a month off, when little except caring for their very young children was expected of them. The so-called “Biblical patriarchy” practise things very unlike the patriarchy of Bible times. There was not even formal home schooling then, as what people needed to know in a pre-industrial civilization was so much less.

  31. says

    Back when I was a single, homeschooling mom I am so glad I listened to the alarm bells that went off when I visited a homeschool group that tried to minister me and “welcome” me to have “fellowship” with them in their home Church. The warning signs were so obvious to me that we literally RAN. Sadly, not everyone has the education and socialization I had (I’m not saying I’m brilliant and others are stupid–I just had parents who were very wary of organized anything…) The families were as exhausted looking and wearing the same forced smiles and worn-out years-old clothing we saw on the Duggars in their first few tv specials. The Moms literally were NEVER away from their children. Sadly, many of them chose the life and convinced their husbands to live this way!!! No thanks.

    And, on the subject of nursing and church….why are women expected to sit in the bathroom in so many churches?? Would you take a plate of food in there? Of course not! Yet there they sit in a little area of rocking chairs or even in the handicap stall with a stroller full of toddlers.

    Although they are hand-in-glove I wish ABC or NBC or CNN would do an expose on the truth of these “big happy families” whose kids LOVE chores and never, ever express a desire to play sports, or spike their hair, or ever question the “wisdom” of their parents in any way. I wish they’d show what passes for pre-natal and maternity care, what passes for education (Yes, I DO know many excellent homeschool families, but I’ve yet to meet one family that does a fabulous job educating when living THIS lifestyle, what passes for “parenting” or for food even. Show how the individual is basically not allowed to exist–it is only the sacred cow known as the family and the worship of it’s god, Daddy. Sick, Sick, Sick

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