by Liz Adair
I blog on Service for yourLDSneighborhood twice a week, and for last Friday's post, I asked a friend to write her thoughts on July 4th. She is one of my daughter's oldest friends, and she and her family come to our family campouts every Memorial Day. We missed her this year, because she had just left for a year's deployment in Iraq.
As I posted what she had written, I thought of how things had changed since I was a young woman. I remember, when Ben Hur was just released--was it the 1950's?--there was an article in some magazine about the woman who played Ben Hur's love interest. She was an Israeli, and the article talked about her being in the Israeli army and said that all young people, men and women alike, had to service for a time in the armed services, and women were not kept out of combat.
That idea was so foreign to me. This was still Leave It To Beaver time. Women were just beginning to swell the ranks at colleges and in the workforce, but very few had non traditional roles. It was expected that, though a woman might have a college education, she would still, when the time came, settle down and become a full-time wife and mother, and there were lots of barriers put in place should she want to do otherwise.
Even though the pendulum has swung to the extreme that women who choose to be full-time wives and mothers are out of the ordinary, I love the freedom to choose. One has to have lived through the first 3/4 of the 20th century to understand the pressure to conform to a stereotype of what is 'women's work.' I work with women architects and engineers all the time now, but when I was young I don't recall any women engineers on any of the jobs my dad was on.
With all of that, I think the operative word is CHOOSE. The old traditional choices weren't bad simply because they were old. Mothering is one of the most rewarding focuses a person can have, and it is the greatest teacher of Christian virtues. The window of opportunity is short, and if passed over for something more glamorous or better paying, may not come as a choice a second time.
And, contrary to what it may seem like when one is young and weighing decisions about career or family, there are great stretches of time after children are raised when a woman is at the top of her game and can build a successful career.
I say this realizing that there are lots of women who don't have the choice to stay at home and be a full-time mom. Bless your hearts, you've got a tough row to hoe, but I know as you seek to make decisions that will bless your family you'll have doors open that you didn't even know were there.
I've said this very badly. What I meant to say was, hurrah for choice, but make sure ALL the choices are on the table, and include the Lord in the consideration period.