What About Mom?

Why did So Much More focus on fathers, not mothers?

A few people have noted, with some concern, that our book placed a great emphasis on the father-daughter relationship, without much mention of mothers. They are worried that So Much More was off-balance in this regard. If by “off-balance,” they mean we talked more about fathers than mothers, they are absolutely right. If when they say “off-balance,” they think we believe fathers are important and mothers aren’t, they missed the point of the book.

One theme subtly directing the whole book is that mothers who mother according to biblical patterns are of inestimable value and incomprehensible influence. Our goal in writing this book was to equip the young woman to become this kind of wife and mother.

The Bible places stress on the importance of both parents, commanding children to honor and obey both father and mother (Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16, Ephesians 6:1).So Much More‘s emphasis on the father doesn’t preclude the importance of the mother, any more than the existence of a book on mathematics proves the author thinks biology is less important. Obviously, to have a balanced, thorough understanding, we need books on both.

Our intention was to focus, in this book, on fathers and daughters, based on a need we were personally seeing in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Europe. This need was a serious lack of teaching about the role a father should play in his daughter’s life. We thought that need was screaming to be addressed for a number of reasons. Here is one of them, quoted verbatim from So Much More.

In this generation, girls are facing a lot of problems. In fact, this year young women are facing a lot more problems than they did a century ago. Some of these are novel problems invented by modern times. We know more than we wish to know about the problems troubling young women, because ever since we were little girls young women have been coming to our home to get a taste of functional family life and pour out their troubled hearts.

They are facing all kinds of complications, conundrums, cynicism and confusion over where they’re headed in life. They struggle with a proper idea of femininity and masculinity, a healthy view of authority and submission, a sense of direction and priority, the concept of protection and security, and an elementary understanding of what it means to be daughters of God.

We’ve found that these girls all have one more thing in common: they are missing a functional, confiding, loving relationship with their fathers.

Oh sure, they have happy, casual buddy relationships with their dads, but this is not a substitute for a strong, biblical relationship that edifies, inspires and strengthens both the father and the daughter.

Is their missing relationship with their fathers the root of all their other problems? No, not the only root. But we believe, after years of studying both God’s Word and modern times, that the forgotten principles of fatherly protection and daughterly honor are the missing dynamic girls need in leading fruitful, stable, happy lives which will give honor to God. We do not believe that the father-daughter relationship is somehow more important or special than the mother-daughter relationship, or the father-son relationship, nor do we mean to breath into this relationship a kind of super-special, mystical quality never seen in the Bible. But we do believe the father-daughter relationship is one of those being more ignored and abused this generation than others, with distastrous and heartbreaking repercussions. Girls are hurting from the absence of strong, biblical relationships with their fathers, and repairing these should be a priority for the young women of our generation. (Chapter 2, pp 15,16)

In other words, one of the reasons we chose this angle was because the father-daughter relationship was being neglected. As we were researching what teaching is available to daughters, we were delighted that girls have access to such resources as Stacy McDonald’s wonderful Raising Maidens of Virtue, as well as one of our childhood favorites, Beautiful Girlhood by Karen Andreola, and numerous others which by no means ignore the father but place special focus on the relationship between the mother and the daughter. Anna and I have talked about writing a book about mothers and daughters someday. Maybe we will wait until, if the Lord wills, we are mothers ourselves. Maybe we will leave it to women who are better writers and can explain themselves without causing confusion.

But fathers are more than “the missing part of the puzzle.” There are other reasons we think teaching about the father-daughter relationship is particularly important.

#2. Because if girls don’t have good relationships with their fathers, there will be vitally important things they fail to learn about their Heavenly Father and their future husbands. Here is another excert from So Much More:

The fact that God describes himself as a Father to us shows that the position of earthly father is like an earthly reflection of God. To understand God’s nature as our “Father,” we need to understand what a father is for and how we are supposed to relate to our fathers. This is why it’s so important to God that we show our fathers love, honor and obedience. … The virtues we learn by being good daughters to our fathers on earth help us in being good daughters to the King, and prepare us for this life and the life to come. Being protected by our fathers teaches us how to be protected, loved, and cherished, and the responsibilities that go with this blessing — how to be faithful, how to be trusting and how to have a yielded heart. Learning how to relate this way to our earthly fathers will teach us to relate this way to our Heavenly Father.

#3. Because, notwithstanding its teaching on the importance of mothers, the Bible places special emphasis on fathers as the heads of their households. The theme of Scripture is patriarchal, not matriarchal. The father is given special responsibility for the rest of his family. It seemed logical, in a book primarily about familial relationships, to point readers chiefly to the headship of their fathers.

#4. Because the state of relationships with fathers can determine the quality of all other familial relationships. As the head of the family, his strong connection with everyone else is the root of family unity and harmony.

It’s not just daughters who are suffering from solid relationships with their fathers.
When a father doesn’t have his daughter’s heart, her respect, her support and her help, he is weakened. And when the head of the family is weakened, the whole family is weakened. This generation in particular is marked by weak familial relationships, we believe because of a lack of recognition of the father’s headship. The poorness of his relationship with his wife, his sons and his daughters, we think, is the root of the rest of the relationship problems. As young women striving to “teach the [even] younger women,” we can’t exhort sons to strengthen their relationships with their fathers, or wives to submit to their husbands. But we can, and will, encourage girls to fight with all their might against the inherently anti-Christian, marxist stereotype of “dopey dad,” and build their fathers up to be greater men.

#5. Because, thanks to the homeschooling movement, most homeschooled children have pretty strong relationships with their mothers. Homeschooling started out as primarily a mothers’ movement, and though many fathers approved the decision to homeschool, often they gave most the responsibility of raising and educating the children to the mother. Hence, a strong bond between children and mothers, but a weak one between children and fathers. What should give us great cause to rejoice is that in this generation, we are finally seeing fathers turn their hearts to their children, and the homeschooling movement is becoming the biblically balanced movement it should be.

#6. Because disconnection between fathers and children is an interestingly serious greivance to God, and invokes peculiarly severe judgment. In the very last verse of the Old Testament, we read of the mission of John the Baptist. “”…And he will turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6) Bad relationships with fathers (note: not mothers!) incur national judgment!

We read of John’s mission again in Luke 1:16,17: “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah], to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” This is amazing! “Turn[ing] the hearts of the fathers to the children” is compared with turning the disobedient to righteousness, and prepares the people for the Lord!

This was our mission in writing So Much More — to turn the hearts of the daughters to their fathers. From the start, that was the goal of the project and the main theme of the book.

By the way, So Much More was nearly named “The Forgotten Dynamics of the Father-Daughter Relationship,” or something similar. But everyone whose opinion we asked immediately responded, “Oh, but your book is about so much more!” Which is a rather broad topic… but we took the hint and adopted the title.

Though we tried to pack in as much information as we could, So Much More needs more. It is by no means complete, and even though many people have kindly called it “comprehensive,” it really isn’t. Every day we think of more that should have gone into it. Does anybody want to volunteer to write Even More?

Family Relationships