My old boss once told me a story. He’d raised three girls who were already grown, married, and had children of their own. One was in the middle of a divorce, and all manner of allegations were flying about the guy.
He told me he always had a stern talk with boys who came calling on his daughters. he further told me that when his daughters each had accepted a man’s marriage proposal he sat with them telling them, essentially, that if they ever raised their hand to them they’d be answering to him.
I have daughters and can’t ponder one being physically abused. As a child I witnessed my mother abused. Blood and fist and broken bones, not spoken to harshly. Real abuse. I refuse to imagine either of my two girls experiencing that. One reason I do not imagine that is, I do not follow societal and church signals that create a taint on things male. Plus, I watched my mother’s role in the escalation of hostilities that would end in significant physical abuse.
Because I am able to separate cause and effect from blame of victim (few today have this ability), I can see the role she played. She wasn’t at fault. But she could have avoided the abuse most times it occurred. So I get emotional about the issue. Angry, like I deserve my anger, and I deserve a fair hearing. That made me tersely ask my boss if he’s had any similar admonishing talk with his daughters, and hypothetically if he had a son would he similarly admonish the women marrying them.
He didn’t like the question. or maybe the way I asked it. No matter, my mouth has had my feet in it so many times it’s a veritable shoe store in there.
Today Dennis Rainey’s remarks caused similar emotions when I read his list of things he said to boys who came calling on his daughters. There is a steady debate at Dalrock’s between IBB and the rest of the men in the combox. IBB would likely borrow from this list:
A woman is God’s creation, a beautiful creation, a fine creation. You’ve certainly noticed that my daughter is pretty, is attractive and has a cute figure, haven’t you?
The attraction of a young man to a young lady is both normal and good. I’m glad you like her and want to be with her.
I understand and remember what the sex drive of a young man is like. Believe me, I’ve been there, I know what you’re dealing with.
I’m going to hold you accountable for your relationship with my daughter. Expect me to be asking to see if you’re dealing uprightly with her.
I’m challenging you to purity. I want you to guard her innocence, not just her virginity.
I want you to respect and uphold the dignity of my daughter by keeping your hands off of her. Keeping this one precaution in mind will help keep you from getting into further trouble.
Do you understand all of what I’ve just said to you? Are we clear on what I’m expecting and what you can expect from me?
When you’re a dad someday, I hope you will challenge your own children to abide by these standards and will interview your daughter’s dates. My prayer is that you will never forget this conversation.(my emphasis)
I get him. But I don’t like what this propagates. How can you read number 7, with its overly aggressive disciplinarian (of a small child) tone and not imagine potential rejoinders that you’d like to be able to express if you were in that situation?
The anti male bias is screaming off the page. This boy must guard his daughters innocence? Mendacity on a kabob. This boy could brush her hands of him, break away from embraces, physically resist any attempt she made at physical intimacy, and still not successfully guard her innocence, for it would be in her intent and resulting actions where innocence is lost. Not in his yielding or resisting her charms. The boy can strap himself to the mast. Sirens are still sirens. Even if his ship sails on and all he does is struggle against his restraints.
Worse, in the final point Rainey attempts to mask his gender focus by using the word “children”. Challenge your “children” to follow these rules. Interview your daughter’s dates. Your sons, therefore, are your “children”. And they must guard the innocence of the girls they seek to date.
Plus, some guy is going to look aggressively into their eyes in some kind of high school football coach-esque way and ask them a question that would typically elicit the response “sir yes sir!”.
For more help handling the salivating petri dishes of hormones called boys, so that the sterile clean room ready pink bow, ribbon, and white dress worthy girls are not led into losing their innocence, see these sure fire real world ideas about how to get boys to listen respectfully.
He concludes with this:
This is just a fun way of reminding you that protecting your daughter’s moral purity is a responsibility you need to take on with purpose, intent and diligence.
This is true. It is important to make every effort to protect your daughter’s moral purity. But that is not what he describes. He describes protecting her virginity. He makes no allowance for her desire, her intent, her thoughts. Its about the physical results. and it omits her agency completely.
I wonder if, later, he explains Matthew 5:28 to his boys. And misses the irony.
Several years after my old boss told me the story of how he spoke to the men who married his daughters, he and I were traveling together and he shared some new information with me. The one who had divorced her husband, he was worried about her, because she was having lots of guys sleep over and her small kids were there. he didn’t approve, but the dirty rotten scoundrel ex was making custody waves about it.
Maybe he should have gone to the man, lectured him, then repeated number nine from the list. may not have gone well. The ex is an urban police officer in a tough city. He may have some expectations of his own where his children are concerned.