Homeschooling: DIY.org

How cool does DIY.org look? Kids do challenges and master skills to earn badges. You can access this part of it for free, or for a subscription (that can cover multiple kids) you can access courses on learning how to do the different challenges. I can’t wait to show this to the Scout Kid, and someday to the Feral Kid and their sister. What will we start with? Baker? Archer? Graphic Designer? I know Scout Kid will have some opinions once I show him the options. Our life just got way more fun.

Download the app here and let me know if you sign your kids up so we can follow each other’s progress!

Women’s Wednesdays: A Response to TGC’s ‘Will Women Be Forced to Register for the Military Draft?

Opening Note: This post is not intended to explore the morality on any level of the draft itself. It is intended to engage with the question of whether the draft should, if employed, be restricted to men only, or include both men and women equally.
I read the Gospel Coalition’s blog, and am often very encouraged and edified by it. Equally, I also often disagree with their posts. Unsurprisingly, many of these posts tend to be on the subject of gender. Usually I just sort of move on, but a recent post by Joe Carter called ‘Will Women Be Forced to Register for the Military Draft?‘ moved me to do more. Not only do I disagree with this particular post, I find it rather insulting, both as a thinker and as a woman. As such, I wanted to post a response to it.

Carter’s argument, if it can be so called, boils down to this:
A poll taken in 2013 found that nearly sixty percent of Americans believe women should be eligible for the draft. Women favor the draft at a much higher rate than men (61 percent to 35 percent), and Democrats favor the draft much more than Republicans (80 percent to 50 percent). Overall, 59 percent of those polled said women should be drafted.
A likely reason for the increased support is a foolish and historically ignorant belief that the military draft is an outdated institution and will never be used in the future. While the draft has indeed been dormant for forty-two years, it is likely to return during America’s next large-scale conflict. The reason the draft will be needed is obvious: relative to some other nations, the U.S. is woefully lacking in manpower… That is why many people have no qualms about supporting “gender equality” by allowing women to be drafted: It doesn’t affect them directly. They seem to have no concerns about forcing their granddaughters or great-granddaughter to be subjected to the horrors of war. As long as it doesn’t directly affect them, they are allowed to be seen as embracing ‘equality.'”

To summarize, Carter argues that the more likely reason women (and men) support the draft is because we don’t think it will ever be used. Carter can think of no other, perhaps more intellectually honest, reasons for supporting the draft for women than a desire “to be seen as embracing ‘equality'” without consequence (in an anonymous survey, no less?)

For me, two reasons come immediately to mind, although there may certainly be others. The first is that women have thought through the implications of being registered in the draft, and concluded that they find laughable the idea that their sex somehow disqualifies them from wanting to defend– to the death if necessary– what they believe to be valuable and worthwhile. Certainly this is where my own feelings lie. Certainly I imagine I would struggle with many qualms and fears if faced with the harsh reality of defending my values in a contest of the magnitude of war– but I don’t doubt that many of the young men who have in the past been drafted to defend their country felt the exact same qualms and fears I would. Though the women-and-children-first, ‘men at the front lines’ mentality that has been the currency of the patriarchy for centuries upon centuries is deeply ingrained (it’s a huge movie trope, for example), I categorically deny that there is something intrinsic in me that would rather be defended and sacrificed for than to defend and sacrifice. I feel a  jealous ferocity rise in me at the idea of my husband or children being attacked, for example, that I defy any man to exceed, and I am confident that my fellow women experience the same feelings.

A second explanation is the notion that women don’t want to be conscripted and do hope that the draft is never employed in their lifetime or that of their daughters, but they nonetheless feel that it is just and necessary that the draft legally include both genders. Even if no noble fire of courage and self-sacrifice kindles in them at the notion of defending their home and country, they acknowledge that their feelings aren’t a good gauge for what is legally just or morally ethical. Thus, while hoping that the draft need not be employed, they still conscientiously believe on an intellectual level that the draft should include both men and women.

However, even if we grant Carter his ill-defended premise that women self-evidently should not be included in the first line of a nation’s defense, that all the men of a country should sacrifice themselves to defend their women, he provides in his own post a defeat of his conclusion that women should thus be excluded from the draft. This defeat lies in the numbers he provides.

Carter writes,
“Currently, the armed forces is comprised of about 2 million men and women, both on active duty and in the reserves. The potential pool of draft eligible young men (ages 18-25) on file with the Selective Service is approximately 16 million.
In contrast, China has an available manpower of 750 million—more than twice the entire population of the United States. They also have over 100 million draft eligible men, with nearly 20 million men in China reaching military age every year. Although it has less manpower than China, Russia also has about 45 million men of draft age.
If we were to face either or both of those countries in violent conflict, the draft would need to be implemented in the U.S. on a broad scale. Having already shown that drafting women has popular support and having no legal basis to exclude anyone based on gender, young women would be drafted in numbers equal to young men.”

What Carter is saying here is that the United States currently has an eligible pool of 18 million people, tops, in the event of a war. If that war were with China or Russia, they would be colossally outnumbered. This ‘first line of defense’ of American manpower a jest, then! Refusing to double your available forces is a foolish way of defending your women even if defending your women is acknowledged to be the goal. It strikes me not as noble and self-sacrificing to tell women to stay at home hoping that a military of 18 million will stand up against a military of 850 million, but as blind and self-aggrandizing. If you truly want us to be defended, let us stand beside you. Not all of us will live, but at least we won’t have sat at home watching you be slaughtered in a foolish and misguided attempt at chivalry that ultimately does us no practical good at all.

Ok Seriously

One more post on the Target gender-desegregation hoopla. Because I’m really frustrated and kind of horrified at the things people are saying.* I read this post by Matt Walsh because some of my Facebook friends ‘like’ his page (although I did decide to hide all posts from him in future because I need to live my life not constantly frustrated about this.) Anyways.

I have two sons who are into a broad variety of things, including dolls, construction vehicles, dance parties, and reading. I don’t have a daughter, so I can’t speak to what she would be like, although I remember being a little girl who loved biology (National Geographic wildlife specials all the way), fat novels, playing in the woods, and riding bikes and playing Red Rover with the neighbourhood kids. Chances are you have a similar story. You loved Barbies, climbing trees, and those foam 3D puzzles of architecture. You loved the Hardy Boys, card games, and a stuffed frog you took to bed with you every night even when you were way too old for it. None of these things was cause for much comment. Now, I’m not saying there were no problems with the expectations on kids in the past, of course, but the truth is that the toy aisle has gotten more gender-segregated in the last few decades.
The thing is this: toy gender segregation is not about biblical manhood and womanhood. It’s about money. Toymakers, broadly, don’t give a plugged nickel whether their toys encourage girls to be nice, pretty, and domestic, and boys to be tough, athletic, and spatial.** They do, again broadly, care about their bottom line. If you can get siblings to play with different toys, because one of the siblings is a boy and two are girls, you’ve just sold that many more toys. If boys and girls can’t play together in groups because boys and girls don’t play the same group games, you’ve sold that many more toys. If, however, kids can happily play group games, pretend games, building toys, et al. in non-gender-specific ways, toymakers don’t get to divide their markets into smaller, more lucrative categories.
Why get into a righteous froth on behalf of toymakers’ moneymaking categories? I talked a bit in my last post about how most of the toy segregations don’t make sense and are actually discouraging the kinds of things we want to see in godly men and women. Let’s go over it one more time. If your little girl plays with dinosaurs, wonderful– she’s cultivating a sense of joy and wonder in God’s creation. If your little boy plays dolls, wonderful– he’s practicing to be the kind of father who’s there, one-on-one with his kids, teaching them the truth as they stand and sit and walk. If your daughter loves hockey, perfect– she’s set on a path for enjoying the physical form she’s been given, stewarding her body and health well, and learning to cooperate with others. If your son is dazzled by ballet, perfect– he’s getting set to grow into a man who appreciates the beauty and creativity of art and enjoys God’s gift of music and dance as ways to praise him and communicate with each other. None of these things conflict in any way with Biblical categories of manhood and womanhood expressed within marriages and churches. None of these things have the slightest thing to do with sexual orientation or transgenderism. It’s a crying shame to see people– parents, even!– acting as if it’s somehow bad to let kids freely roam the toy aisles without a big sign insisting that what they like is for the other gender. It is also startlingly illogical. Surely letting kids like what they like is doing the precise opposite of encouraging gender confusion, by telling our little girls and boys that there are many ways to be a girl and many ways to be a boy, and in all that beautiful diversity, there is no need for one to long to be something other than what she is, something other than what he is: a unique person who loves, say, science experiments, Lego Star Wars, and paper doll kits, and is just right exactly the way they are.
*People are using words like ‘sissifying’ and ‘pussifying’ to describe this move, because A) this has anything to do with anybody being tough? and B) thanks for showing clearly with your word choice that yes, people do still think that female=weak and useless, so we DO need to break down these gender stereotypes; sorry Matt Walsh, when you say “Nobody ever said that girls can’t be strong or boys can’t be gentle” your own crowd is right there giving you the lie…) 
 
**Which, BTW, not Biblical criteria at all. That’s just culture and tradition talking.

Imaginary Daughter: Introduction

Because I don’t have a daughter but would really love one, I want to have a series of posts for an imaginary daughter. Here’s the first one, a letter to her.

Dear Imaginary Daughter,

I don’t know if I’ll ever have you for real, but in case I do, I want to make you a few promises:

I promise to give you the rainbow. Pink and purple are beautiful, but so are gold and grey and forest green and summer sky blue and deep red and flaming orange. Your room, your clothes, your toys, your life will be open to all colours, because colours are for everyone.
I promise to give you the same range of toys your brothers currently have. The dolls, the play food, the puzzles and the car wash and the basketball net and the Playmobil family, the art supplies and the buckets and shovels, the magnifying glass and the globe and the stuffed toys. I’ll let you be free to like the ones you like as you grow and learn and change.
I promise to teach your brothers to relate to you and the rest of your gender as people, not as stereotypes. To not call each other “girl” as an insult, to include you in their activities, to speak up if those around them belittle or dismiss you. I promise to read them stories and show them movies with girls as main characters because it would do both you and them a disservice to teach them to overlook the ideas, input, and value of half the people on earth.
I promise to teach you math and science and sports and to never let you think you are somehow disqualified from learning these fascinating subjects or using your body to it’s full potential because you are a girl.
I promise to dress you practically. There’s nothing wrong with being fancy sometimes, but for everyday: when you’re a little tender baby I’ll dress you simply and comfortably in cosy sleepers; no floral elastic headbands, baby tutus, or unnecessary ruffles to fold up under you. When you’re an active one-year-old I promise you won’t have to wear dresses that catch under your feet as you try to learn to stand up or crawl. When you’re a hard-going toddler I promise your clothes will be sturdy enough to take whatever activities you can throw at them and I promise not to be precious about dirt and grime with you any more than I am about your brothers’ clothes. I promise to never teach you that looking pretty is more important than learning, being kind, or being strong and healthy and active.
I promise to love my body and to love yours. I promise to be proud of what my body is capable of, to own my weight (160, right now), to use food for nourishment and for enjoyment and not connect it to punishment or shame, and I promise to do everything in my power to keep the world’s toxic messages about what beauty is (skinny and sexualised and expensive) and how much energy you should give it (the lion’s share) drowned out by messages about inner beauty, my unconditional love and God’s unconditional love, and how much energy you should devote to loving and helping others and using your potential.

And if I never get to meet you, maybe this will find its way to some real-life daughters and their real-life mamas. Here’s hoping!
-Imaginary Mama