Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In the News: “We didn’t have the luxury”

Image President Barak Obama, on April 6, 2012, addressed the Women’s Economic Forum at the White House, appropriately praising his wife for her diligence in raising their daughters. He also had praise for his mother and grandmother. They are/were apparently industrious women who he praises as chief contributors to his character and success. In his speech he mentioned the fact that his wife was conflicted while working outside the home. Consider the following from the transcript.

Once I was in the state legislature, I was teaching, I was practicing law, I’d be traveling — and we didn’t have the luxury for her not to work. And I know when she was with the girls, she’d feel guilty that she wasn’t giving enough time to her work. And when she was at work, she was feeling guilty she wasn’t giving enough time to the girls. And like many of you, we both wished that there were a machine that could let us be in two places at once. And so she had to constantly juggle it, and carried an extraordinary burden for a long period of time.

Obama mentioned the conflict that many women feel as they seek to juggle a career with their responsibilities in raising children. It is a shame that economic circumstances make it necessary for some women to make such compromises.

However, is it possible that Obama’s statement, “and we didn’t have the luxury for her not to work” is more an indictment of our society’s desire to “have it all” than it is an economic reality? I have no idea how much money Obama was making during that time frame. However, he mentioned in the quote at the time he was a state legislator, a teacher and a lawyer. Such employment on the part of a father and husband would seem to be sufficient to support a modest but comfortable lifestyle, if such is chosen by a couple.

What will it take for a married couple to purchase and maintain a fine home, to drive multiple new cars, to send their children to private schools, to enjoy vacations in exciting places and to have the latest in electronics and nice clothes? Probably both parents working. If a couple wants all that, the woman staying at home will be a luxury they will not be able to afford.

But, what if a couple wants the woman to stay at home? What if they want her to keep the house, to always be available to the children—and most importantly—to have time and opportunity to be the primary caregiver in supplying the children’s emotional, physical and spiritual needs? What will it take? Sacrifice!

“…the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things– that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5).

It is our society that devalues the worth of a woman who keeps her home and raises her children. It is wrong to say that the choice for a mother not to have a career outside of the home is anything other than a wonderful decision made by a selfless and dedicated set of parents. Children do not need things. Children need their mother — first and foremost.

I understand the reality of economic necessity. I sorrow for any woman who is unable due to circumstance to focus on her children the care and nurture she desires and they deserve. However, any couple that chooses to neglect the spiritual and emotional welfare of their children does not deserve sympathy, but censure. “And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).