By Ronald E. Johnson, C.Ph.D.
During WW II, young men glanced longingly at posters of Rosie the Riveter; her hair was tucked under a scarf, and her flexed bicep muscle portrayed a tough, but beautiful gal. The message was that pretty girls can mix cosmetics and grime into attractive and effective contributions to freedom. Young girls by the thousands imagined themselves to be duplicates of Rosie. Many took on roles similar to the tasks performed by the fictitious poster girl. Prior to our contemporary era, young women stepped up to the plate to deliver needed social and domestic services and to perform heroic acts at just the right time and place. They were the Clara Bartons, Harriet Tubmans, and Beverly LaHayes. Alas, what happened to that pool of elegant and purposeful women?
Contemporary girls like to truss up their curls, file their nails, cruise the local mall, and text-message to peers. But sadly, too many of the fair gender do not know how to prepare meals, shop for bargains, wash dishes, change diapers, and operate vacuum cleaners efficiently. Moreover, they certainly do not know how to enjoy books, give speeches, use hammers, lawnmowers, posthole drivers, or sets of wrenches.
But neither do their boy friends!
The net result is that American youth enter adulthood and marriage ill-equipped to deal with work-world or domestic reality. Nor, do they seem to appreciate or embrace noble beliefs that give rise to courage and bravery. Somewhere along the trail of time, American parents have failed to prepare their daughters to aspire to be like Rosie the Riveter, Florence Nightingale, or Harriet Tubman.
My wife and I determined that our five daughters and two sons would get a good dose of Rosie or Sergeant York…along with Clara Barton, Queen Esther, King David, David Livingston, Patrick Henry, George Washington, and Douglas MacArthur! From the time our children could read, they were supplied with biographies of great people…via stories we read to them and books given to them for Christmas and birthdays. We made sure they knew how to clean the house, mow the yard, wash dishes, play a musical instrument…and pluck a chicken, ride a horse, or remove a snake from the yard.
But a problem developed. Their peers, especially of the opposite gender, simply could not relate! One daughter commented, “Dad, you have ruined us. We can’t find any men like you; they are mostly wimps.” Our girls knew how to live and had high expectations for husbands. That standard caused social and work-place challenges. Eventually, my sons married and moved away to start their own families. I hired a young man, whom I mistakenly thought could drive fence posts and string barbed wire. My daughters outworked the lad so profoundly that he tossed down the post driver and sped off the ranch in humiliation. My girls giggled. They finished the job. At other times, our daughters poured concrete, installed plywood siding, painted walls, nailed on roofing, rode horses, and stacked firewood. But they also prepared an elegant dinner for dignitaries from Moscow, Russia, and hosted numerous parties built around themes from the South Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East. They won international competitions in drama, poetry, art, or photography.
Moreover, they are strikingly beautiful, intelligent, and strong marriage partners. They are also teaching their daughters to be as beautiful and well-equipped as Rosie the Riveter, and their sons to emulate the better qualities of John Wayne, David Livingston, and Dwight L. Moody. I suppose, however, their children will face the same challenges of their parents…difficulty finding suitable life partners who can turn a wrench, cook a tasty meal, repair a lawnmower, or be a good spouse.
For more articles by Dr. Johnson, visit www.pacworks.com (click on Doc’s Blog). Dr. Johnson welcomes your comments or questions. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 325-649-0976, P.O. Box 810, Zephyr, Texas 76890. We would be honored for you to join us on Facebook at https://www.facbook.com/PACWorks.