Double Standard?

While attending a marriage conference several weeks ago, I watched a television news program on Sunday morning in our hotel room while I was waiting for my wife to finish getting ready. The panelists consisted of three men and two women, all of whom were either television or print journalists. The topic of discussion was Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

The question of concern was Palin’s ability to fulfill the position of vice president as the mother of five children, one of whom has special needs and one who is pregnant. Interestingly, both of the women journalists emphatically stated, “No, she cannot do the job and be a mother to five children. She cannot have it all.” When asked by the male journalist why Barak Obama is never questioned on his ability to fulfill the position of president while being a father of two children, Washington Post journalist Sally Quinn replied to the effect, “It is different. Men do not shoulder the burden of child rearing. I have many friends who are CEO’s of businesses and to a woman they say they struggle being a mother and a businesswoman.”

These comments coming from mainstream media representatives beg to examine a number of significant issues. First I suspect if Sarah Palin were a liberal democrat we would not be having these discussions. Secondly, feminists have been telling us for years that women can have it all—they can be successful in the workplace and as mothers (BTW–if a man had made the statement that Quinn did it would have caused an uproar heard across the land). Third, if the journalist’s CEO friends were able to be successful in their careers and families then why is Palin not capable of fulfilling both roles? Lastly, why isn’t Obama’s (or any other male politician) ability to serve as a father questioned in the same vein as Palin’s as a mother?

Frankly, I’m by no means a feminist, but I was more than a little offended by the tone of the entire discussion. Sarah Palin appears to me to be a confident and successful woman, wife, and mother who should be getting praised for her achievements, not demeaned because she is faced with the same circumstances as every other person on the planet. She is a model of everything the feminists have touted as being admirable in women, and yet liberal women are attacking her with vitriolic fury. I cannot help but think that if she believed in abortion and homosexual marriage, she would be getting praise heaped on her by the media. Instead they are questioning her ability to do the very things that they once lavished praise upon Hillary Clinton for. I’ll take a woman who can successfully be a mayor, a governor, a wife, and a mother for vice president candidate over a presidential candidate who’s never accomplished anything significant in his life any day of the week. At least from the tone of the program I watched, it appears there is clearly a double standard involved with the media where Palin is concerned.

Parenting–Not for Weinies

My wife Suzanne and I just got back from speaking at the annual MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Convention in Dallas, Texas. It was a wonderful time of seeing over 4,000 young mothers get a break from the constant pressure of raising little tykes and receive some practical skills and advice for their marriages and for raising children. This year I was introduced to a woman I had never met and frankly I didn’t even know who she was. Her name was Lynn Spears. When I met her I thought she was just another speaker and was not aware that she was Brittany and Jaimie Lynn Spears’ mom.

But Lynn’s topic really hit home with me. Among other things, Lynn was asked, “Some moms have a plan for raising their children, did you?” She responded, “I had a plan. A perfect little plan. But I couldn’t control the outside influences my children were subjected to. Now all I can do is rely on my faith.” Despite my initial, uninformed negative opinion of the kind of mother Lynn probably was, she struck me as just an average mom who had tried the best she could and is now shell-shocked by the things that have happened to her children.

When I was a young parent I self-righteously believed that parents were always responsible for how their children turned out. But as an older parent with adult children I now realize that we do the best we can and then our children make their own choices. Sometimes they make good choices and sometimes they make bad choices. Hopefully we provide a good foundation for them to make decisions from. Often our children get to a certain age and we have no control over them any more. One of those factors is the outside influences they are subjected to. Despite having been told by many pious church leaders that if you parent your children right, they will turn out right; I have observed that this is not always the case. I know great parents who have raised several children into excellent young adults only to have one or more stray along the way. Likewise, I have seen terrible parents whose children turned out wonderful. Go figure. I think perhaps those parents who’s children turn out good are maybe luckier than they know. One man told me he believed that God had given him compliant daughters because God knew that he would not be able to deal with ones who rebelled.

Finally, over the years it has been my observation that Brittany Spears and many of the other young “pop tarts” are actually victims. Yes, they have fame and fortune but most are desperately unhappy with their lives. Brittany appears to have been used and abused by many men over the years who should know better. These girls frequently come from homes that are fatherless or have uninvolved fathers. As such they are eager for masculine attention and vulnerable to men in general. Agents, managers, the press and media, record executives, and other men have made billions of dollars off her by advising her and giving her poor advice. They did not have her best interests in mind nor did they protect her like authentic masculinity is supposed to–after all she really was just a child. Instead, they sold and raped her soul for their own profit. Hopefully someday, they will have to give an accounting to a being powerful enough to treat them as they have treated her.

Posting a Blog

Welcome to our new blog site. As a way of introducing myself I’ll let you know that I am a full time writer and speaker. I am the author of the books, That’s My Son–How Moms Can Influence Boys to Become Men of Character, Better Dads Stronger Sons, and The Man Whisperer–Speaking Your Man’s Language to Bring Out His Best. In January I will be releasing a book titled, The Power of a Man–Using Your Influence as a Man of Character.
I am also the founder of Better Dads. Better Dads is a fathering skills organization that believes that men and especially fathers are important. Our organization gives inspirational training workshops for men and fathers, moms raising boys to become good men, and for women to understand how to speak their man’s language. We also have a mentoring program for fatherless boys called Standing Tall, and we host summer camps for single moms and their children. Lastly, I speak at various prisons teaching classes on fathering and authentic masculinity. If you’d like more information please visit our web site at http://www.pro-visionsmedia.com/betterdads-new/.
I hope you will enjoy this blog and will feel free to contribute as much as possible. This week I have included a picture of me and Riley the Wonder Dog hiking on Bald Mountain. Mount Hood (Oregon) is in the background. This picture was snapped just before the one of me falling off the mountain….