When Other Daughters and Sons of Patriarchy Are Trapped

by Lana Hope cross posted from her blog Wide Open Ground

With all the ex-conservative homeschooler blogs out there nowdays, people may be under the impression that homeschool fundamentalism has viritually disappeared among homeschool alumni. To be sure, this Christian movement among homeschool graduates is dying a very slow and painful death. But it is so far from over, and I have so many friends still trapped in the ideology that I constantly feel the tension with old friends and old hangouts.  Here’s just a few  very recent encounters I had with a few graduates

Story 1

The first story comes from a young girl Charis who writes of the “single homeschool girl dilema.” After a gap year a few years too long, she had planned to finally attend college this year and “finally get away” and finally “not be responsible for anyone” (read: not be responsible for siblings, family, etc). But instead earlier this year she met Mr. Right and is now engaged. She says she is mourning, not because she does not love her fiance (she does), but because she will never know what it’s like not to be responsible for anyone. She will never know what it’s like to be on her own. Now, she says, instead of being under her father’s authority, he will “transfer” that authority to her new husband.

I know a lot of people get married young, but keep in mind this girl will never get to live on her own, ever, not even for a year. And also, marriage in a quiverfull ideology has no “you” (as Vckyie Garrison over at No Longer Quivering says, “there is no you in quivering”); it’s only responsiblity and submission. There is no space to become your own individual thinker.

Charis is right. If she does not leave the house first, she will never get out.

Story 2

In a parenting discussion, Elizabeth writes that her parents let her color during church even when she was nine years old. She says this has damaged her relationship with God up until this day because she learned to tune out God, rather than listen to his prompting. So she says that even a one year old should be made to sit still during church, listen to the commands of their parents, and follow the instructions.

And I think of her children in the future, picking up the broken pieces.

Story 3

Andrew says that if his children come out gay, he will kick them out on the streets.  He will do this because a heart of rebellion is a bad influence to other siblings.

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Because I was once one of these people (except the putting gay kids out on the street part – I never went that far), I identify with their pain, and I struggle with words to help, waiting patiently for them to break free. Breaking free is not easy because then they likely face their families and communities looking down upon them. I have always said that in a way, I wish I could turn back the tables and just be content in my submissive role; it would be easier and less shameful. But then I look at the great big world, and remember why I left.

Comments open below

Read everything by Lana Hope!

Lana Hope was homeschooled 1st-12th grade in a small town and rural culture. Involved in ATI, her life growing up was gendered, sheltered, and with a lot of shame and rules in disguise of Biblical principles and character qualities. After college Lana moved to SE Asia and began working with the abused, and upon discovering that the large world is not at all like she had been taught, she finally questioned it all, from Calvinism to the homeschool movement to the foundation of her Christian faith. Today Lana is a Christian Universalist, holds a B.A. in English, and is currently working on a M.A. in philosophy.  She blogs about the struggles she has faced leaving fundamentalism and homeschooling behind and how travel and missions has wrecked her life for good and bad at her blog www.wideopenground.com.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

 

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  • derickrae

    The coloring thing makes me so sad. Thankfully, my Fundie mom had an education degree. She let us color in church. It’s how she came to realize I was a tactile learner. I listen better if my hands are busy. To this day I doodle during church or lectures and I sorta with it wasn’t faux pax to bring some sort of needlework to church. I would retain more of what was said. I listen best when it looks like I’m not listening at all.

  • Saraquill

    Making a one year old sit still for ages at a time seems like torture.

  • Madame

    I feel really sorry for the young girl who waited too long to go to college because she probably never will go, and even if she loves Mr. Right, she will probably resent the fact that she now has to be submissive to him, bear lots of children, and probably homeschool them. But somehow, if Mr. Right expects these things from her he’s falling short of being right.

    Mr. Right would want to know what she wants out of life and would support her on her way. Mr. Right would support her through college and not expect her to have children until she was ready. Mr. Right wouldn’t want their wedding to be an authority transfer.


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