Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Marriage is 1 of 3 vocations ... not everyone's

Last night, Mark and I were driving home from date night (went to go see "The Hot Tub Time Machine") and listening to some radio talk show.  The issue being discussed on-air was the way to manhood as described by Ernest Hemingway.  He stated that a boy became a man by completing four tasks:
  1. Plant a tree.
  2. Father a son.
  3. Fight a bull.
  4. Write a book.
 No. 1, 3 and 4 are the ones with which I don't have a problem.  It's No. 2 where my issue lies -- "father a son."

The talk show had three males guests who were discussing what their ideas of the way to manhood were, and all three of them also said that fathering a son would be on the list.  Now, don't get me wrong, fatherhood, parenting a child is very admirable and all married men should deem this as necessary to consider and pray about.  The problem, however, lies in that very issue -- all married men.  Only one of the three vocations is marriage.  The other two are religious life and single life.  I most certainly do not think men called to these other two vocations are to father a child in order to become a man.  According to this radio talk show, then, men called to the religious and single life never fully become "men."  Rubbish!

What about the men called to marriage who aren't able to conceive children?  Are they all supposed to adopt?  What about the notion of "spiritual fatherhood," where a man shows great love and encouragement, almost as a mentor, to someone younger than he?

I just don't agree that a male who never fathers a child, for whatever reason, is any less of a man than someone who has conceived a child.  Especially in cases of men who conceive a child then disappear and the child grows up never knowing their "father" and when men who are never able to conceive a child take a child under their wings and love on them as a spiritual father.  These latter males are much more of a "man" than the former.

This brings me back to society's view of marriage being the default vocation for everyone.  If people truly discerned their vocations, I believe the divorce rate would be much lower and people would be happier and have more peace.  May we all encourage our loved ones to have a true discernment of vocation and consider all three vocations -- especially our younger loved ones!  It's so important to fully educate them on all options so that they may have a clear discernment.

April 2007, downtown Austin


  1. Well, believe me Jen, there is a lot of prejudice against unmarried (especially never-married) people in our society. They are thought deficient somehow. Single men (past a certain age) are assumed to be immature or losers, and single women are just thought of as losers. It's unfair, but it's what people subconsciously think. A few years ago there was a suggestion that Condoleeza Rice would maybe run for president, but then the pundits shot down that idea because Rice had never been married. Must be some kind of weirdo. I hate to say it, but those pundits had a point. An unmarried woman? Can't vote for someone like that. Meanwhile, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are forever being photographed with their kids, as if that reinforces the idea that they are worthy and mature people.

  2. Hm, that really is unfair. I definitely don't agree with the idea that unmarried people are "deficient, somehow" or "losers." That's a ridiculous thought and judgment. Someone's marital status nor vocation calling is not the measure of the type of person anyone is nor what they're capable of -- including political office.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...