Thursday, October 8, 2009

Family Matters Seminar: Matroshka

Matriarch of a big peasant family, colorful, kerchiefed, round and rosy-cheeked—
who could represent me better?

I started collecting nesting dolls a long time ago. Made in Russia, the real name is Matryoshka, from a word that means Mother. They are sometimes called Babushka Dolls, which I like, too, because it means Grandmother.

There are lots of different themes and designs, and I delight in seeing how the artists from various villages paint them so meticulously. My granddaughters love taking the dolls apart to reveal smaller dolls fitting inside one another. I tell each girl that the big doll represents her. Her mom is next, and I am after that, with generations of grandmothers and great-grandmothers, back and back and back, who all love her and want her to be happy. If those women could, they would share the lessons they have learned about life.

Art by Kathryn Brown

I hope my little girls can someday realize the blessing of being Matryoshka and Babushka. It has become more challenging to make this choice. Bryce Christensen says, "Too many women have succumbed to a dangerously narrow view of womanhood, repudiating homemaking itself as an outmoded and dispensable artifact of a misguided culture." In his article HomeLess America, he states that women's traditional skills have lost their value. "By rejecting a role differentiation between fathers and mothers, some women have lost sight of the home as an independent moral realm, building relationships and values that are different from those of the commercial realm." (This is a great article I've referred to often on my blog. It's long, but interesting.)

Some attitudes of our society that I hope my little granddaughters will recognize as lies are:

  1. Men are smarter, have all the power and are more important, so if we want to have influence in the world we should be more like them.
  2. Marriage and family are confining.
  3. Motherhood is menial and a waste of any talented woman's time.
  4. Women are perpetually frazzled and failing.
  5. A woman's value is based on her size, shape, and what she accomplishes outside the home. —Listed in the words of Sheri Dew.

Some truths I hope these girls will learn from the legacy of their mothers and grandmothers:
  1. By developing the God-given nature to nurture, women have a unique opportunity to change the world.
  2. The influence of a mother has no limit and no end. She can share every aspect of her education and experience in the atmosphere of love she fashions.
  3. Creating a home is a way of creating a world.
  4. Women have abilities beyond their wildest dreams to organize and create.
  5. Women are the soul of a family and a community.
It's been said that women are the survival kit of the human race. That responsibility has been handed down from generation to generation.

I think it's something inside us!

Homework: Do any or all or be inspired.

~Write about some things your mother did that seem outdated now. Were they a waste of time, or should they be reinstated? Prompt: "My mom insisted that we_________. Now, as an adult, I wonder if______."

~List ten things your dad would never have done to help out around the house, that modern dads do routinely. Idea: Change diapers, give kids a bath, etc.

~Write a paragraph about one of the numbered statements. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

*If you do any part of this assignment on your blog, please link it back to TravelinOma and provide proper attribution. Leave a comment here (with a link to your homework if you want to share it) and/or a link to your blog (so we can get to know you.) School Days has open enrollment so join anytime. No make-up work required! If you're new, click here for an orientation.


Ginger said...

This is something I've written and spoken about quite a bit. Thanks for helping me revisit this subject.

hannah :: sherbet blossom said...

great prompt! both of my parents were very women-empowering, so i think i'll write about my grandparents. ;)

Alana said...

I had dropped out of school for a while. But I'm back and glad to be here.

cannwin said...

I would list the ten things my dad would never do but my dad reads my blog and I'm worried he would stop talking to me. :)

Maybe I'll write them here... better yet I'll write what he did do!
1. He cooked clam chowder once, then got mad when no one wanted to eat it.

2. He put my hair in a pony tale once. He parted it down the middle and then pulled it back at the base of my head... it was horrible.

3. He made us dinner once (pb&j)

4. He bought us a new car once, but forgot to tell my mom about it. Oh, and forgot to buy one with a roof and 5 seats

5. He tried to tell me about the power of the female body once. I left the room 1/2 hour later worried about my weight.

You see where I'm going? My dad is still a little dazed that his daughters turned into roaring feminists. ;) Really we're not that bad, we love to be at home with our children but we have some strong ideas about how a marriage works and it happens to be the opposite of what our parents was like.

We're rather smug about that actually.

Katie H said...

I love this! I've been thinking about motherhood a LOT as I contemplate one day becoming one. So this post is very appropriate for me...and I love Matroyshka dolls! I took Russian in high school & college & collected them. How sweet. I love it.

Thanks for all you do.

P.S. Speaking of moms, mine has been reading your blog because of my homework assignments & she told me today, "TravelinOma is such a neat woman!" So you've got two fans in Virginia now. :)

Katie H said...

I posted! Rambling, but I posted. :)

kenju said...

You're a wise, wise woman.


Catching up and find out that while I was traveling and storytelling you and Dee had some big stuff going on. Over the past ten years Jim has had several stents and they have done very well - so glad things are working out well for Dee - and you. PTL.

Miranda said...

This lovely post left me all weepy. There have been a few times when I've had to defend the fact that I am a mother above all else...I get very passionate about this subject.

Misty said...

I wasn't sure which direction I wanted to go on this one. This is what came out.

audrey said...


This is one I feel pretty strongly about. I am glad I finally felt brave enough to put it into words.

Mrs. Organic said...

Most of those lies are very upsetting to me. I think women have put limits on themselves under the guise of feminism. For me, true feminism is a balance between femininity, honoring womanhood and the power to procreate, and bringing them together.

Here's my homework

dalene said...

done (well, after a fashion).

~j. said...

Oh my oh my. I could have gone onandonandon with this one.