It’s a shame that many cringe when they hear the word feminist. People are often confused by what a person means when they say, “I’m a feminist”. The dictionary definition is such:
Feminist: advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.
You don’t have to be a female to be a feminist. I love this clip where our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau identifies as a feminist and speaks about raising his sons to be feminists. It’s a one minute clip and worth the watch: Justin Trudeau Urges Men to be Feminists
How exactly do I plan to raise my daughter to be a feminist? The question gives me pause. It certainly won’t be a one time event but an on-going process. The following are a couple examples that come to mind. It’s not an exhaustive list but its a start.
- I plan to always raise her in a church that supports women in leadership and ministry. Thankfully, the Free Methodist Church is such a place. (p.s. Jesus was a radical feminist, I look forward to pointing this out to her!)
- I hope to instill in her the ability to ask, “why?” Example: why are baby showers only for the mothers and not also for the fathers? Where does that come from? And what do I think about that for today?
- I plan to instill in her a voice and knowledge re: finances. If she marries one day and decides to have her husband do the finances, that’s OK. That will be out of choice rather than inability to have an opinion on financial matters.
- Whether she decides to work or stay home with the kids, that will be her choice. I’ll remind her that the ability to choose is empowerment. (I’d also support dad being a stay-at-home dad if that’s what they want!).
- I’d want her to be aware of the inequality between males and females. The unspoken & spoken expectations that are rooted in sexism. But I’d want to do so in such a way that she is informed but not bitter. Passionate about justice but not poisoned by injustice. There’s a fine line — we must do what we can, when we can. But we will also face great disappointments in how others think & operate. This discouragement can cause us to not act at all. I hope that our daughter will be a feminist who will do what she can, when she can and will also remember the wise words of Mother Teresa:
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
People often say that raising a child is the hardest thing that they’ve ever done. I’ve heard spouses of pastors say that being married to a pastor is the hardest thing that they’ve ever done. The explanations as to why this is varies depending on who you talk to. I’ve heard the following: feeling like you’re in a fish bowl, the pastoral life schedule (unpredictable schedule/nights/weekends/holidays), conflict and criticism, feeling lonely, financial hardship, etc.
It’s no secret that I was nervous to marry a pastor. I actually met with several pastor’s wives and interviewed them before getting engaged to Derek. I wanted to hear what the experience was like for them + see if they thought I could cut it. The best advice that I was given from one pastor’s wife was this: all you need to be is the best Christian you can be. That’s it. Make that your focus and you’ll also be the best pastor’s wife you can be.
My grandfather was a long-time minister of the Free Methodist Church, so I was able to gather from my grandmother little bits and pieces of what being married to a pastor was like for her. My grandmother rocked hospitality in ways that I won’t come close (one example: her apple pie was the best!). But there are ways that I serve in the church that my grandmother wasn’t gifted in. That’s the problem with comparison: we forget the unique role that we can play in making our church and community a better place. The comparison game is hard for spouses of pastors because in addition to the ways that you are already hard on yourself, there can be opinions from congregation members regarding who you should be/what you should be doing.
While there’s some parts of pastoral ministry that you can’t help with, there is an area that you can make a difference in. You can find ways to be an encourager!
October is Pastor’s appreciation month. I’d like to challenge you to go out of your way to encourage your pastor. Not just in October but always. If there’s anything you appreciate – tell them! Don’t just assume that they know. And while you’re at it – why not encourage your pastor’s spouse as well. I’m sure that they will appreciate your time and effort.