My wife, Patricia, and I just learned that her 100-year-old mother, “Pat,” has died after a brief illness. As Christians, our thoughts now turn to a life well lived and the promise of a new eternal life to follow.
Pat was a premature, or “shoe box,” baby born in 1915, and much of her early life was in the coal country of West Virginia. She married in 1936, had daughter Patricia in 1937, and second daughter Barbara followed 11 years later.
Pat was widowed in 1960, just as Patricia and I were dating and Barbara was in the sixth grade. Now this full-time homemaker with a high school education set about the daunting task of raising her two daughters as ladies of refinement and distinction.
Patricia and Barbara both received college degrees, and both have been very successful in their respective careers. More importantly, they have been objects of great affection and admiration as well. That they are beloved ladies is no accident. Thanks to a resolute and godly Christian mother, they made the challenging transition from girl to woman, and finally to that of lady.
It has always been a challenge to raise the female of the species. She had to be protected, provisioned, and shaped to the customs and culture of the band or tribal group. She readily accepted this shaping – much more so than the adventurous males, I suspect. When pregnant she increased greatly in value, and other females formed a strong, protective bubble around her. I hate to agree with Hillary, but it does “take a village” to promote a paleolithic girl – or any girl – to the status of woman.
In ancient humans, the transition from girl-to-woman occurred quickly with little in the way of adolescence as we know it. The female’s fundamental role in the tribe was that of producer of offspring, and it began early and ruthlessly. Her girlhood was a brief prelude prior to the child-bearing and child-rearing rigors of womanhood. There was no concept of lady at this time.
In the modern world, what is a lady, anyway? Finishing-school expert Deborah King lists 10 qualities of a lady. Among these are poise, civility, generosity, skilled management of home and family, and a refined sense of social presence. People flock to the true lady, they value her company and cannot help but envy her. For me, the duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, epitomizes the concept of lady in terms of beauty, motherhood, social presence and virtue.
Ann Coulter refers to hypocritical and unctuous displays of liberal “goodness” and moral superiority as virtue signaling. I suggest a positive aspect of the term – a true lady is morally upright and virtuous and her mere presence serves as a “signal” to others. Don’t we all know physically beautiful ladies predatory males seldom, if ever, hit upon? It is all about the the signals they send.
How did Pat succeed as a mother of ladies? She came from an unpretentious rural background, she knew poverty and privation, she had a strong work ethic, and she raised her girls at a time when America was a self-identified Christian nation with morals to match.
Moreover, Pat’s cultural “village” – from community to nation – was basically on her side in the rearing process. The church, educational system, and local and national politics provided support as she shaped her girls as competent and assertive women, and then on to the higher status of ladies.
Parents of today can no longer look to the village for support in child rearing – except for those churches still holding to biblical traditions. In fact, parents must first protect their children from the damning effects of modern culture before proceeding further.
Traditionally, parenting and rearing were additive – it was an incremental process of shaping new social, intellectual and moral skills. Now it is primarily subtractive in avoiding stupid, pagan and salacious inputs from Hollywood, television,and the cyberworld.
As societies devolve from modern first-world configurations to phylogenetically ancient ones, the genteel ladies are the first to go. As the process of cultural Springerization, de-Christianization and re-paganization continues, the girls rule, and even mature women are in short supply. This is the age of “girls gone wild,” Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus and a hosts of lewd pop stars who have created a pornographic culture. These Stone Age Venuses are the antithesis of the lady and are quickly bringing our great nation to ruin.