Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lauren Winner on the Gender Gap

What an important topic and article for today: in education, the home, single life, and the church. At the outset - this article does not apply to everyone I know. Many of the married men I know, both younger and older than me, are incredible guys and their wives are equally great. But, this does apply to a lot of the women I know (who do everything and are great), and a lack of male leadership in churches, dating arenas, etc - who can live up to those standards. The real reason I was drawn to this article is I know so many great, wonderful, smart, beautiful, over 25 single women who want to be a wife and mother. All of our married friends say: "There are no good guys out there that I would even want to set you up with. They aren't caliber enough."
Anyway...Lauren Winner is an author. I found this article on Boundless, an online ministry to singles done by Focus on the Family. I found it very compelling and true - not needing an apology.
And one more thing before I get started: I'm thankful for knowing men who defy this article and are training men they know to also go against the odds in this study. Thank you for setting the bar high!
I'm not going to rehash the whole article, but pulling out the highlighted portions from my reading:
"Regardless of what we say we think about women and leadership, when it comes to college-aged and 20-somethings, women are leading in all sorts of areas." I so wish this wasn't true. Yes, I think it is great for women to go to college, get a degree, serve in their churches, be involved in the community, love on others. But, if we do it all - the men are going to continue this slide into non-involvement. Just because there is a lack of male leadership, doesn't mean we can usurp the authority of the Word of God and be the leaders (especially in the church and home).
"What's going on here is not just volunteering or service, but real lay leadership. I'm thrilled to have so many active, vibrant women working with me, but I do wonder why the guys are so slack. And I probably perpetuate things, because now, when I really need something done, I often don't even think to ask any guys. I go to the women who I know can get things done." Unfortunately, this way of thinking is happening in many churches - and is the inevitable outcome of my thoughts on the above portion.
Winner attributes some of this to the amount of time 20-somethings spend playing video games, exercising, sleeping, and watching TV. I agree with her partly on this - but I think there are far more important reasons than these. These are just the outworking of lack of leadership and discipline. "Men devote far more time than women to playing computer games, exercise more, and watch more TV, and are more likely to oversleep and miss class."
She goes on to talk about the formative years in late elementary school all the way through college. Even now, as I walk past the gym or go work out, I see an overwhelming majority of men (even in ratio to the amount of men who outnumber the women at this school) playing basketball, ping pong, watching ESPN, or chilling with friends in the school cafe, or playing frisbee on the lawn. These are important - community, exercise, "down time" - but not the exclusion of doing the "hard things" (as the Harris brothers have said in their book).
Here are three main points about this study that I want to make:
1. Parents - please train up the future generation to not play video games all the time. Ok - its not the fault of video games. Train, especially your boys, to grow up to have leadership, responsibility, caring, assertive, integrity, work ethic. Instill in them a sense of right and wrong when it comes to being lazy. Laziness is all over the Proverbs as a destructive trait.
2. Pastors - Don't let this happen. Be on the lookout for 20-somethings in your church who are just slackers. Teach them how to step up to the plate and take control of things - serving, being men, having leadership roles early in their lives within the church.
3. Men - (Single). Step up. Be a man. God gave you leadership roles in the church and home. Don't be a wuss. (Married). Live this out - bring single men under you to mentor them - don't be a wuss.


Lauren said...

I think this is very interesting. Thankfully, I attend a church that has lots of male leadership, but I can still look back on my years as a Christian and remember times when the women have been much more dependable than the men. And I am guilty of picking up the slack and not giving the men a chance to step up and lead. That's even something I struggle with in my marriage, but I am learning.
I have noticed a lack of male leaders in our children's ministry, but I think that's because a lot of of men view that as "women's work". Too bad...

Lauren said...

Also, this article almost makes me want to have a boy! Of course, I won't find out for a couple more months, and I've always said I wanted a girl, because I know what to do with girls. But what an awesome thing it would be to have a son and raise him to be the man that God intends him to be, and not the pansy lazy men that we see all too often these days.