Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ask yourself these questions, Do you qualify as a wife?

From the book"The Christian Girl" published in 1963. "Ask yourself these questions. Do you qualify as a wife?" These are the questions, "Am I domestic in my tastes?", "Can I cook." and "What kind of temperament do I have?"

Sunday at my church, I noticed a table of books and a sign that said "free books". Within one minute, a book caught my eye. It was a book written by Mamie Hayhurst. It was a series of lessons taught in many Churches in the early 60s to teenage girls. As I looked at it, several senior women noted , "Oh, yes I remember that bible class book ! It was very popular!" Why did this book named "The Christian Girl" catch my eye? Because Mamie wrote it. Mamie married my Grandpa Whitten (Mom's father)after my Grandma died. It was a brief marriage mostly for companionship and was cut short by just plain old age. Neither could really take care of the other anymore. I had often heard that she wrote "The Christian Girl" from relatives. It was utilized for teenage girls bible classes all over the USA.

Looking through it, I realized that this series wouldn't go over well in 2012. Activities included making a scrap book. Front Cover, top right hand corner, picture of the girl. Title "The Girl Becomes a Woman." Page 1: Paste a picture of a bride. :) Whoa, wonder what kinda reaction that would get in 2012! "Is that it?' "Our only choice?'
Other qualities encouraged in this class, are two words my generation never really picked up on all that well. They are being submissive and having a quiet spirit. In reality, men are also told in the bible to submit to their wives. ( Had to add that here, it's sort of a natural reflex.)  Anyway, it wouldn't go over well today in a teenage girl Bible class but in reality, we all know that our divorce statistics would not be as high if women and men didn't insist on our own way all the time. Additonally, who's gonna argue that it's kinda hard to live with a loud overbearing, nagging ... ? Irreconcilable differences is what we like to call it. No fault divorce. Back then, they had the nerve to tell people to submit to one another. A novel concept, I guess.

Mom and I often have these same conversations.  "Don't you have to get dinner on the table?" Mom asks. "Are you going to travel by yourself? Isn't Dan going to go with you?" "Did you get Dan's ironing done?"  I've learned not to  answer these questions with women her age and just to smile instead. Answering "Well I guess he will get dinner some way or another sooner or later." results in a very worried expression. Why worry her? Mom and other nice ladies her age had wonderful long lasting marriages. I'm not going to argue with their success.. In fact, it wouldn't hurt me to take on a more quiet spirit. I've decided to work on that.  No, I'm not going to start ironing.

I wonder if there was ever in history a bible class for teenage boys that taught submission, and being gentle, quiet and kind to their future wives? hmmmm.

Nancy Wright 2/2012

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