Russell and Duenes

God’s Greatest Gift

with 2 comments

If you’re a regular visitor here, you’ll remember the tribute I wrote to my mom a few days back on Mother’s Day. My birthday, coming as it does not long after Mother’s Day, prompted my mom to mail me a note in response. It’s a glorious letter, but one line from it stirred something deep within me. My mom said, “God’s greatest gift to me was motherhood.”

What a resoundingly different chord this strikes than the dominant sounds coming from our contraceptive culture, where a woman’s procreative abilities are thought rather to be a liability, in need of shutting down, and the having of many children – my mother had four – an obstacle to feminine fulfillment. Which is why SF Gate columnist, Mark Morford, has to ask, in a contemptuous and hateful piece trashing the Duggar Family and their, at the time, 16 children: “Where is, in other words, the funky tattooed intellectual poetess who, along with her genius anarchist husband, is popping out 16 funky progressive intellectually curious fashion-forward pagan offspring to answer the Duggar’s squad of über-white future Wal-Mart shoppers? Where is the liberal, spiritualized, pro-sex flip side? Verily I say unto thee, it ain’t lookin’ good.” No, it ain’t lookin’ good because countless women are convinced that motherhood is no longer one of God’s greatest gifts.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

May 15, 2010 at 3:30 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I am not against contraception in theory but I’ve got a real problem with those who use it to put off having a family for what are purely selfish reasons and then when their body clock tells them it’s “now or never” they go into a panic and through all kinds of contortions trying to force their desires against nature. They resort to various forms of artificial means or ill-advised pregnancies putting the child’s quality of life at risk. Worse yet, when their babies are born, they are in such a rush for them to grow up and so place unrealistic expectations on the child, creating an atmosphere of tension, usually coupled with lavish “bribes” so that “things” become the sad replacement for meaningful personal interaction and schools get blamed for the child’s anger or apathy and lack of joy in learning, sharing, and giving. Thank God such parents (I include the FATHERS in this as well as the mothers)are still in the minority (although the media makes it seem otherwise.) But I think you have to think twice about blaming such attitudes on the availability of birth-control. Certainly that has made it easier to avoid becoming a parent when one doesn’t feel ready to be one, but I question whether the absence of such availability would change the self-centered nature of such young people to make them become good parents simply because they are forced to deal with the natural consequences of sexual intimacy. Do we really want these people to become parents?
    I grew up in a family where all the women worked (along with their husbands) going back several generations (at least as far back as the mid-1800’s) and I also had a professional career before I chose to get pregnant at age 28. I would not have made a good mother before then so I am glad I had the option of birth control. But when I and my husband felt we were grown up enough to accept the responsibility of bringing a child into this world, I put my career away in a closet so I could put my energies and attention at the forefront for our son. He is an only child but that was God’s decision, not ours. I cannot imagine how parents of more than one child can find a way to give each child the individual attention they need and deserve, but I know there are those who are blessed with that fine touch. I loved my career (which was a high-profile one) but I have never once regretted the years spent at home with our son. I eventually was able to start a new career in my early 40’s which was completely different, exciting and satisfying – but I will always feel that the most important job I have ever had – and the “achievement” that I am most proud of, is being a mother. It is a “job” that continues to this day (though my child is all grown up) and the only legacy that really matters.
    I guess my message is, don’t let the media get you down. Yeah, there are a lot of very selfish young people who don’t get it about the value of “motherhood” (AND fatherhood) – but there always has been and will be people like that and the world is probably much better off that those folks DON’T procreate.

    Leslie Sigal Javorek

    May 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    • Good reflections, Leslie. I really appreciate them. I don’t want to overplay the effects of contraceptive use, but I’m trying to find a voice opposite the massive flood tide of opinion that thinks of artificial contraception as the greatest invention known to modern humanity. Your attitude about motherhood is highly commendable, and I’m grateful for it. May your tribe increase.

      -D

      russellandduenes

      May 15, 2010 at 11:23 pm


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