Is a Family By Any Other Name….a Family?

isfamilybyanynameafamilyIf a rose by any other name is still as sweet, is a family by any other name…a family?

The better question….who decides?

A few weeks ago, HUGE controversy was raised when Jennifer Aniston, promoting her new movie The Switch, a film about a single woman desperate to have a child seeks alternative and scientific methods in order to make it happen, was reported saying, “Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don’t have to settle with a man just to have that child.” And while Aniston being this single and unattached woman who wants to have children but has no plans on obtaining one scientifically like her on-screen character does, she introduces an interesting topic: Do women really need men to make a family?

A highly offended Bill O’Reilly shot back (as he often does in a rather harsh and critical matter, regardless of the legitimacy of his concerns) on his Fox News show the next day. He said that Aniston’s interview was “destructive to our society,” and said that she was “diminishing the role of the dad.”

“Dads bring a psychology to children that is in this society, I believe, under-emphasized,” he said. “I think men get hosed all day long in the parental arena.” For his full statement, go to the Back of the Book Segment on his website.

So, the question is raised, and we want YOU to answer. Tell us what you think: What DOES make up a family? Is Aniston right in saying that a woman has the right to choose to have a baby without needing a man in her life? Or is O’Reilly correct in saying that this view is “destructive to society?” Is either parent a disposable figure? And what affects does it have on our children and the next generation? And most importantly what are the Biblical principles on this issue and the roles that dads and moms play?

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8 thoughts on “Is a Family By Any Other Name….a Family?

  1. Oreilly is right. Too many feminists feel that men are unnecessary for children. Maureen Dowd wrote a column explaining that the only reason for men’s existence in society today is to be a sperm donor.

    Go to The National Center For Fathering to see statistics in what happens to children in a fatherless home. I did a bible study in a jail last year and asked the question who came from a fatherless home? In the group of 30 men all but one raised their hand. A father is central in a child’s life biblically. It is part of God’s plan

  2. I partly disagree with Oreilly. It is one thing to bring a child unnaturally, believing men are not needed, having an attitude that they are just accessories. But, many godly single women help raise others’ children, adopt, have foster children. Is a loving 2 parent home ideal? Yes. But we don’t always get ideal. If I reached a certain age, I would certainly adopt a child from another country. He or she would be in an orphenage if not adopted. And, although I would rather my child have 2 parents, it is certainly better to have one loving parent than none.

    under that same mentality of “2 parent homes are the only way to go”, should we take children away from men or women whose spouses leave them or die? Those situations are not ideal, but we would not argue that because its not perfect, those children can’t benefit from one loving parent.

    Nothing irritates me more than members of the church criticizing women who have adopted. Not everyone gets the husband and 2.5 children fairytale. And, if I don’t, I intend on serving children either through foster care, adoption, involvement in my community, etc.

    We spend so much time fighting a secular society, arguing for family structure and values that are perfect, and yes, lets keep striving for that!! But, lets also realize that this is a broken world and sometimes the best thing we can do is be used by God in restoration and encouragement and service. We should spend less time criticizing those single moms who have adopted or have their own children and who are seeking to place these children in a church community and spend MORE time supporting them. There was a single woman in my church who adopted a boy from the Ukraine….how encouraging would it be to see men step up to be male role modesl for that boy instead of deciding that her created family wasn’t God’s design. I am sure she wanted a family the traditional way, but instead of saying, “Im not married, I can’t nurture a child”, she stepped up to bat and willingly took on a child to love, even though it will be a harder task for her alone than it would be with a spouse. And you know what? I believe that little boy will be better because of her choice to love him and no leave him in an orphenage.

    I partly disagree with Oreilly. It is one thing to bring a child unnaturally, believing men are not needed, having an attitude that they are just accessories. But, many godly single women help raise others’ children, adopt, have foster children. Is a loving 2 parent home ideal? Yes. But we don’t always get ideal. If I reached a certain age, I would certainly adopt a child from another country. He or she would be in an orphenage if not adopted. And, although I would rather my child have 2 parents, it is certainly better to have one loving parent than none.

    under that same mentality of “2 parent homes are the only way to go”, should we take children away from men or women whose spouses leave them or die? Those situations are not ideal, but we would not argue that because its not perfect, those children can’t benefit from one loving parent.

    Nothing irritates me more than members of the church criticizing women who have adopted. Not everyone gets the husband and 2.5 children fairytale. And, if I don’t, I intend on serving children either through foster care, adoption, involvement in my community, etc.

    We spend so much time fighting a secular society, arguing for family structure and values that are perfect, and yes, lets keep striving for that!! But, lets also realize that this is a broken world and sometimes the best thing we can do is be used by God in restoration and encouragement and service. We should spend less time criticizing those single moms who have adopted or have their own children and who are seeking to place these children in a church community and spend MORE time supporting them. There was a single woman in my church who adopted a boy from the Ukraine….how encouraging would it be to see men step up to be male role modesl for that boy instead of deciding that her created family wasn’t God’s design. I am sure she wanted a family the traditional way, but instead of saying, “Im not married, I can’t nurture a child”, she stepped up to bat and willingly took on a child to love, even though it will be a harder task for her alone than it would be with a spouse. And you know what? I believe that little boy will be better because of her choice to love him and no leave him in an orphenage.

  3. I don’t want to denigrate Godly single women, but they would be better served by getting married first. Where the man is really neeeded is when kids hit adolescence. This is especially true with boys. At a certain point a boy gets to feeling too big for his britches and stops obeying or respecting the mom. They then often look to inappropriate male role models. We have one of the highest crime rates in the world and definitely the highest divorce rate in the world. It all stems back to single parent families.

    Little girls also need dads. They get their self image through the eyes of their fathers. When they don’t get daddy love, they often seek it out inappropriately with older men, have a much higher teen pregnancy rate, are prone to experiment with drugs and alcohol much earlier in spite of the best efforts of the mom. I can’t stress strongly enough that God’s plan is for a two parent family because kids need both a mom and a dad. I could go on and on but please do what is best for the children.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

  4. Mr. Wilder,

    I agree that double parent families are best. But, I believe even a single parent home with one loving parent — male or female- is better than an orphenage. I love how you say single women should get married first….not so easy. Its not as if many of these women are turning down men left and right.

    I had an amazing dad and an amazing mom so I wish all children would get that.

    I also think that it is unfair and no offense, a very poor argument, to say all crime problems stem back to single mothers…because we all know bad kids from good two parent homes and good kids from single parent homes. That is definitely a factor but not a final judgment that a child is doomed.

    If I adopt, I am not taking a child from a happy 2 parent home, I am taking a child from a no parent home. There is a big difference. I’m not preventing a 2 parent home, I’m giving a kid a fighting chance….not perfect, not ideal, but better than what he or she had. And I hope the men in my church, my brother, and my dad would not sit there and judge me, but step forward and be a male role model for that child.

    And hopefully I will get married and have kids and this wont be an issue. But just because something is not perfect doesn’t excuse us from doing our best to serve God’s people, even his children. I have the income and means to support a child or I could leave him or her overseas in sickness, where he may not hear the Gospel, and with no parents. I chose the better of two options, even if its not the best option.

    I hate when people hold so tightly to the best option that the refuse to try and just make things better. Mr Wilder, please encourage marriage in your church and healthy two parent homes, but maybe if you are so concerned about children without male role models, step in and help a single mom (moms who are single because the husband left) by becoming involved in their child’s life– take her son fishing or to a ballgame, spend time with him. We can spend all day talking about the problem and whats ideal or we can try to make the best of the less than ideal situations many people face in a fallen world. Thats why I am willing, with the right support system including men, to adopt a child. After all, I am not creating life, I am loving and nurturing life that already exists. Thats my choice to help love children in less than perfect situations…And you can choose to support and encourage children without fathers in your community.

  5. I admire your spirit and your willingness to give love. It is true that some kids get into trouble with two parent homes. (Usually they come from very dysfuncitonal two parent homes).

    The problem with your suggestion is two fold. You are taking a child that a couple could adopt. The second reason is that you are handicapping yourself from getting married because a lot of men (wrongly motivated) don’t want to marry a woman who already has a kid or kids. We see it in psychology from the animal kingdom. (Psychology is the study of human and animal behavior) where a new male lion takes over the pride and promptly kills all the lion cubs. The females instinctively go into heat shortly thereafter and he sires new litters of cubs. You have millions of years of instinct going into this.

    Again, I say if you want to adopt a kid, get married first to a good man and then adopt or have your own kids. You are trying to shortcut the process. I have been involved in kids lives in the past. One of the most heartbreaking is a kid who dropped out of high school. I took him under my wing for hours each week. I had to moave and found out that he was picked up on a minor beef and put in jail with other convicts (he was a very small guy but 18). They gang raped him and he hung himself in jail. I can tell you all kinds of horror stories like this. If you really want to do the right thing by a kid, get married to a good man and then do it.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

  6. I am glad to know you are mentoring kids without father figures.

    I am 26 so I am certainly not adopting now. And, your argument that I am taking a child from a couple is a not true. There are more parentless kids than there are people adopting. If it ever gets to the point that there aren’t enough kids to go around, I will gladly not adopt so that the child can be raised in a 2 parent home. But that is not the case.

    And you keep saying get married. Sure, I’d love to. But, I can’t make that happen. You seem to think I am choosing not to get married. I would love to get married, have biological kids and adopt. But I dont get to snap my fingers and make that happen AND I am not selfishly chosing my own desires–adopting kids, career, etc. over marriage. It always irritates me when people from the church assume single women are just too independent and of course, its our fault we arent married and if we would just CHOOSE to get married….

    trust me, I would LOVE to get married and have a family. And raising kids alone is not my plan…. I’m still fairly young, most likely, I will meet a man in the next few years (90 percent of people get married at some point in their life) and have a family. I am just saying I would not be opposed to adopting a child from a bad situation and I certainly wouldnt judge other men and women who did the same. I would actually admire them for taking on a job that is already going to be so much harder than it is for married couples.

    But I assure you, I am not CHOOSING not to get married. Hopefully, Lord willing, marriage AND family is the path my life will take.

  7. Hey KC

    I am glad to hear that you are not refusing to get married and wanting to do it on your own. I will pray that God sends the right man into your life and I suggest that you do the same.

    Again, I am not knocking your willingness to share and give love and be nurturing. These are all qualities of a good mother. All I am suggesting is to follow God’s plan to do it. There are a lot of good men out there. I suggest that you put the qualities that you want in a man in a profile and post it on the internet dating sites. Be specific about what you don’t want as well. You are at a perfect age to marry and have kids and/or adopt.

    I would suggest that the willingness to follow God’s plan rather than take things in your own hands will be more advantagious and God will reward. The bible says not to add or take away from his word and not to rely upon our own wisdom to make decisions.

    I would counsel my own daughter the same and I am definitely old enough to be your dad. In fact I have kids older than you.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

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