I know that despite my post rate increasing, I haven't exactly been getting through this book very fast. But I will finish. I promise. On days like today grinding out another book review post actually seems like a great way to temporarily forget how much painting I still need to do =D
So, I thought it was awesome that Mrs. Pearl spent the first couple pages emphasizing that to be a good mother you have to be a good wife. Having grown up with my parent's somewhat dysfunctional marriage, I think this is a great way to start. Looking back I easily can see where codependency in their marriage affected our lives as children. If the kitchen is the heart of the home, I really think the marriage bed is its soul. There are the two hands of Christianity - service and communion. Speaking of service, I was further pleased to see Mrs. Pearl reaffirm the worth and necessity of practically loving and serving your family every day. As she points out, there are plenty of mothers who leave all the child rearing to others, and therefore don't have good reason to be surprised when there kids turn out dumb and uncaring. It takes a mother taking the time to teach, train, and answer a hundred thousand questions to truly raise a child. This is hard work and valuable, and I found Mrs. Pearl's encouragement highly practical. (At the point I should probably throw in the obvious caveat that I don't have children, and these remarks are all made from the perspective of what I think I'd like to hear when I am raising children. There, exhaustive caveat complete.)
Balancing out this good advice we come to (surprise!) the nonsensical edicts and fear mongering I've unfortunately come to expect from Created to be His Help Meet. It starts with Mrs. Pearl responding to a letter in which a women complains of insufficient meditation time and female companionship, by flat out saying that women don't need time together outside of church meetings once or twice a week. In her words "God never intended for you the have intimacy with another woman, whether in worship or otherwise" (181). Mrs. Pearl even warns that she's seen such relationships become "abnormal and sick" (182). Now I could be totally misreading this, but it sounds like Mrs. Pearl is saying the women should all work alone in their own homes and that doing otherwise could (eventually) lead to lesbianism, which puts a very disturbing spin on Ruth and Naomi's relationship. Right? And what about Mary and Elizabeth? Those are just the examples of the top of my head, but I'm sure there are others. It might be wise for wives to limit their emotional dependence on other women simply because problems arise when you go outside your marriage for what should be nourished inside it, but that's not what she says. She says that God doesn't want you to do this. With zero evidence. Maybe some women need to be told to stop gossiping with their girlfriends instead of tending to their families, but in today's individualized society I think many more women should be encouraged in finding ways to work together and share all the homely wisdom that comes with three kids, 17 years of marriage, or a life spent in single service to God.
This was almost a footnote this the chapter, but I found it singularly odd that she closed the chapter with a disturbing picture of the possibility for sexual molestation should you take your eyes off your child for one minute. She gives a few statistics without citing a single source and even throws blame on innocent young men by casting them as potential child molesters. Yes, this sort of thing does happen, but the day I'm afraid to let my child run around after church for fear of being molested is the day I change churches. In fact, I would do what Mrs. Pearl says not to do - trust God to protect my children. Don't believe me?
You cannot pray and expect God for supernatural intervention and protection. God has already provided for her through you. You can and must pray and ask God to make you a more attentive and sober parent, that you might better protect your child (186).The second part of her prayer is great - we all should be praying to God that we might better fulfill our roles and have strength for the tasks ahead. However, I cannot, do no, and will not believe that I can control everything. If my child were to get hurt I'm sure I'd be torn with grief and feeling of failing. I'd probably even tell my child I'm sorry I didn't/couldn't protect them that time. But, only God is in control. He is their salvation and protector as He is my own. The presence of human mediators doesn't replace the divine reality.
Next time - Discretion. I have to say that Mrs. Pearl generally gets it in one. It's a pity she didn't elaborate more.