Lessons Learned

I was not one of those people who could eat the meat and spit out the bones when I read or listened to patriocentric authors, bloggers, and speakers. And I’ve never been a person to do things halfway regarding issues of great importance to me. I was only 18 years old when I got married and began my journey into patriocentricity by reading The Way Home by Mary Pride. A year later, at 19, I became a mother and discovered Michael Pearl and To Train Up A Child.  After that I was hooked and became a steady consumer of all things relating to the “biblical” homeschool lifestyle, especially materials and websites related to Above Rubies, No Greater Joy, and Vision Forum. I was young, naive, idealistic, and clueless.

I can’t blame my parents for my mistakes because they did not insist I stay at home, eschewing college life and a job outside the home in order to help raise my younger siblings and be my dad’s helpmeet. Remember, this was the early 90′s and, although I was committed to abstinence before marriage, I’d never heard of Josh Harris or the concept of waiting until my wedding day to kiss. I had a very healthy, normal, Christian upbringing for which I’m incredibly grateful. My parents loved me, taught me about Jesus, took me to church, supported me in my interests, sacrificed to send me to Christian school (and one year of homeschooling), and, as an older teenager, let me make my own decisions about my life.

I can’t blame my husband either. He was only 19 when we married, struggling with issues of his own regarding faith and salvation and spiritual bondage that took years to work through. I was the one who was a whiz at Bible trivia and had memorized huge chunks of scripture and had devotional time every day like clockwork so he just assumed I knew what I was talking about! He put up little resistance to the ideas I was gleaning from homeschooling books, magazines and websites.

I had no idea, at 18 years of age, that over the next decade of my life the movement I was embracing would cause me to

  • spank my two year old daughter, who would frequently wake up crying in the night, for continuing to cry and not go back to sleep when told (oh how I wish I could go back…I would rock her and sing her back to sleep or read to her until she was sleepy instead of giving her harsh commands in the middle of the night and spanking her when she didn’t obey)
  • seek out male professionals (such as doctors, realtors, etc) rather than female because every woman should be a homemaker and I didn’t want to support women who were being disobedient to the Word
  • criticize women who ran for public office (again, they ought to be homemakers–public office, whether county commissioner or vice president, is man’s sphere)
  • consider an ideal church to be one led and run solely by men so that the women would be free to remain silent
  • view my husband as my priest, prophet, and king–essentially a mediator between myself and God (though I never would have said that!)
  • advise people who told me that the methods in To Train Up A Child weren’t working for their child, “You’re not spanking hard enough. Light spankings will only make them mad, not submissive!” and give them a plumbing supply line because I thought it was more effective than a wooden spoon
  • be critical of teenage girls or women who wanted to work outside the home, believing this made them a helpmeet to a man other than their father or husband
  • refuse to put my babies and toddlers in the church nursery, preferring instead to make frequent trips out to the car in order to spank them for not being quiet during church
  • Though I did vote, I believed that the world was a better place when women couldn’t vote. Feminism, so I thought, was the root of all evil

I didn’t come up with these ideas on my own but I blame myself more than anyone else for the years of bondage I lived through. False teachers will always be around–it was my responsibility to follow Christ alone and hear only His voice and I had to bear the consequences of not doing that. I hurt the ones I love most–my children. My husband and I struggled in our marriage, each trying to act out the roles of “biblical manhood and womanhood.” I was harsh and critical in my thoughts toward others.  I pasted on a smile and endeavored to maintain a pristine image and be a good advertisement for the homeschooling, patriocentric lifestyle so that others would be drawn to this “biblical” way of life. I was unhappy and depressed but I tried to never let on to others how confused I felt.

I’ve experienced first-hand the pain caused by swallowing and digesting patriocentric teachings, meat and bones. I wasted a lot of years trying to put the cart before the horse, making obedience and godliness my goal instead of simply seeking Jesus first and allowing Him to lead me into the good works He had planned for me–unique work, especially suited to me and my family.

This entry was posted in me, Michael Pearl, my journey, parenting, patriarchy/patriocentricity, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Lessons Learned

  1. Pingback: Leaving The Patriarchy Movement | Why Not Train A Child?

  2. C.L. Dyck says:

    “I was unhappy and depressed but I tried to never let on to others how confused I felt.”

    Ouch. What a prison. My heart aches for your parenting regrets–we each have our own unique ones, and I’m no exception. I know how it feels.

    And thanks for letting our e-book be a guest in your sidebar links. Dave and I appreciate the support.

    • Becky says:

      Regrets…yes. It was hard to write this post because I can’t think about how I used to treat my children without tearing up. Most do not understand how destructive these teachings are because most people do not absorb them and act on them so completely like I did. So even though it’s tough at times, I feel I have to tell my story so that others will understand the danger.

      Thank you for writing the e-book!! The least I can do is tell others about it.

  3. kateri says:

    You know, I was just thinking today that I am so grateful I did not get married young and while still emmeshed in quiverful/patriarchal beliefs. I cringe at the thought that I could have had several children and raised them the way my parents raised me and my siblings.

    “I was unhappy and depressed but I tried to never let on to others how confused I felt.” I felt this way this way too, while living in that belief system. And I can’t read those pretty, preachy, fundamentalist blogs full of big happy looking families, either. I just remember how, even though I embraced that lifestyle fully at one time, the happinest that we were supposed to radiate felt so fake. Honesty and real emotions are strongly discouraged. You have to always be positive and put on a smiling face so that others can see Christ in you and be attracted to the lifestyle. I never said a negative thing until it got to the point that I was literally making a decision to either kill myself or leave. It wasn’t until years after I left that I even found the words to describe the problem.

    • Becky says:

      I understand Kateri. I am incredibly thankful to God for rescuing my family while our kids were still relatively young. Who knows where we’d be or what damage we’d have inflicted if we tried to parent pre-teens and teens in a patriarchal way? I don’t like to think about it.

      “Honesty and real emotions are strongly discouraged.” Oh, so true! I frequently kept my real emotions hidden from even my husband because I didn’t want to detract from his ability to hear clearly from the Lord. And I held my beliefs to be so completely true that I never doubted them…any problems or confusion I had was my own fault–I wasn’t “doing” it right. So I kept my struggles to myself so that I wouldn’t shed any negative light on the way of life that I held so dear.

  4. Jaci says:

    Only through honesty can parents learn from each other. While not followers of the patriarchal theology, we still made plenty of mistakes as parents. Everyone does. I know the pain of wishing I could go back – inexperience and youth makes us stupid.

    Thank you for baring your soul to the public. You will save some from a painful path. May your heart be fully healed.

  5. gracie says:

    It reminds me of the verse in 2 Corinthians about how with the comfort we receive we are able to comfort others. The same is true in teaching. You can comfort and teach others with the comfort and knowledge you’ve been given. <3

    You're blog is really good! You're a very good writer!

  6. Bethany says:

    I was excited to find your website (doing a search for ‘patriocentricity’). I, too, adopted patriocentric teachings on my own, without my parents’ pressure (they were a little more fond of the seemingly beneficial teachings contained in patriocentricity, than yours, but I was the one who really took it and ran with it).
    After accepting a lot of patriocentric teachings through high school, I re-evaluated a lot of things before my junior year of high school, a process which continues til today (two years later). I’ve just finished my first year of college and am really excited to be freed from legalism to live in Jesus’ love! I’m sort of collecting stories from people who have left patriocentricity, or are in the process of doing so. Very exciting times these are–I have been hearing from more and more women and girls who are rethinking ‘Biblical’ beliefs and finding that more often than not, they are merely man-made rules. I have to wonder how many of the seemingly gung-ho young women blogging in support of patriarchy are actually struggling with the same things, and trying to suppress those emotions to convey the right image…
    Anyways, thanks for this post!

  7. Pingback: will the real complementarian please stand up?

  8. Michelle says:

    Please write more Becky! Sure do appreciate your perspective.

  9. Becky says:

    Thank you Michelle. I have had a very busy summer and haven’t been feeling the greatest health-wise. I hope to get back to this blog before long :)

  10. Rachel says:

    Becky, I am encouraged by reading a blog that is so authentic. Thank you for being real about where you have been and what the Lord has been doing in your life. So often folks want to create a perfect image and portray that on their blog. No one is perfect and reading this false image can make others leave feeling inadequate instead of encouraged by the fact that God is faithful and we can do nothing in our own strength. I think you bring the point home with your statement “simply seeking Jesus first and allowing Him to lead me into the good works He had planned for me–unique work, especially suited to me and my family”
    I also love your discussion of grace that seems to be a common theme in many of your posts. This is what really encourages me! Truely, we all are sinners! Without the grace of our Heavenly Father and His Spirit’s work in us, we would never even be prompted to repent in the first place! While we were yet sinners Christ died for us! He chose us while we were still enemies of Him! Though as Christians we are still sinners and His Spirit is continually working in us to help mold us into His image! None of us have room to boast in our salvation or think that we can achieve perfection through our own power or initiative. Thank you for reminding me of these truths through your blog. You aren’t afraid to be honest and deal with difficult topics and that encourages me and reminds me of how, though God’s hand working in my life isn’t always obvious, still He is faithfully working and drawing me to Him and I can’t take any credit! Like you have said, “It’s all grace!” Praise the Lord!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>