Thursday, November 11

More On Patriarch and the Modern Family

In a previous post (here) I started musing about Patriarchy, its role today, and what Genesis (and the Bible) can teach us about how to properly think of family. Because I'm traveling and miles and miles from my "library", I'm going to defer the first question I ended with and concentrate on this:
How can/should we apply this teaching in today's complex, modern, but spiritually numbed world?
What makes a man (woman) a patriarch for his family. (I'm going to use the masculine pronoun for the rest of this post. However, recall I think a patriarch can be a woman). I'm going to quickly list some of my thoughts on this matter. Note this is just my (current) answer to the question posed. What it is not, is anybody's doctrine. I'm just pondering my role as a parent, and how God might want me to live.
  • It seems to me that his family must recognize him as such. Both parents can't assume they take that role, or the children won't recognize. This is not to say the other partner has no say or has a diminished role. In the traditional patriarchy, the patriarch was not the primary caregiver. A primary caregiver in my opinion never ends up with a familial role that in any sense can be considered "secondary".
  • In an extended family it would seem the tradition of passing the torch, or the previous generation annointing the next generations patriarch is valued. This makes the recognition of who the patriarch is undeniable. This tradition as far as I know has been lost to our generation in America. It may be part and parcel with the much reduced role (to zero in most cases) that parents today have in assisting their child in finding a spouse. I have a suspiscion that is why so many children have so much difficulty with their in-law relations. I would think it also would help to glue the multi-generational American family together against the forces splitting it apart.
  • The patriarch must undertake responsibility for all ethical decisions made by his family. This is not to say that the patriarch makes all the decision. However, responsibilty for decision not made by him still come to rest with the patriarch. Sort of a "the buck stops here" role for the patriarch.
  • The patriarch is responsible for the well being of his family and must decide when to move, and where to settle. Genesis is pretty clear on this.
  • The patriarch should decide when children should move out, or stay. He should offer his blessing them when they leave. Our generation has paucity of ritual. Rituals bind us together. They make sense on a level which is left starving in much of today's world. This and acts like this can help to feed it.
  • Finally, just as we are told that in Biblical (OT) times, the self worth of the woman was received through the accomplishments of her sons, the self worth of a patriarch should in a great part be derived by the well being and accomplishments of his family/clan not in your own acheivements or "actualization".

Can this work? It would seem to me it could. Would it help? And of course, what will Mrs. Pseudo-Polymath have to say when she reads this?