Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Pace of a Hen (Continued)

From the archives:

More from The Pace of a Hen, by Josephine Moffett Benton (1961):

…I am always hopeful that the pendulum will swing back and that women will see again not only the necessity of a mother’s being at home, but also the infinite and rich choice in that occupation for women of all ages. Some will complain of monotony, but how few going out to a paid job have the opportunity to make their own schedules, to choose the routine of their week’s labor, to follow up creative interests that women have within the home…. Perhaps we would be more contented if we could realize that one of the few remaining free professions is that of housewife. If a woman resents being just a housewife, let her be called an artist, for the dictionary definition of that word is “one who works artistically;” furthermore, “the work of the artist is creative.”

...Instead of seeing this hard-working span of years as a time of disciplined growth, it is too commonly thought of as a time of intellectual stagnation for the young mother. Perhaps it is the rhythm of nature for her to be somewhat dormant during the nesting years, and right for her to take a vacation from solving the problems of the world. We let land lie fallow that it may later produce a more abundant harvest....

If only we are not in too great a hurry, and are willing to take even a hen’s pace to enjoy the opportunity to mature and grow through the ordinary family frame, we can be wife, mother, poet, musician, or whatever our gift may be.

What great descriptions of the season of motherhood: "a time of disciplined growth"..."the opportunity to mature and grow through the ordinary family frame." Nothing has pushed me toward spiritual maturity and growth like being a parent; nothing has taught me discipline more than homeschooling and managing a home with a large and busy family. (Discipline, she says, is "the organization of energies." That sure is what it feels like in my home!)

And how encouraging to think that following these creative, artistic, maturing years, there may yet await an even more "abundant harvest."

Psalm 128
Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD. May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel.

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