Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Life of Suburbs

I am going to tell you a story that will make you complementarian.

I was listening to This American Life while I was working out today. The theme was outsiders looking in and insiders looking out. I guess there is a story about that floating around in the news these days. The final story was of a woman who lived in a ticky-tacky suburb when she was growing up. Her father was a lawyer and made enough money for everyone to get what they wanted. One day all of this fell away.

Her mother announced a "family meeting" and brought her family together. When she entered the room the first thought on her mind was, "my parents are divorcing." This was confirmed in her mind when she could see that her father was a wreck. After everyone was gathered, her father began to tell them the real reason for the "family meeting."

It seems that early on in her father's legal career he had won a case. A case in which he had become an executor of a large trust on behalf of a wronged family. Initially he had taken the case pro bono but after a little while began to siphon money out of the trust. Tomorrow the father was going to turn himself in and the family should prepare for some major changes.

Well things changed, her father became a nicer person and chewed gum, her mother no longer felt the weight of being a suburban house wife, started a charity to help the homeless. All in all this changed their house for the better.

The interesting piece came at the end of the story. She said that one day they drove by their old house and the question came out, "why did Dad turn himself in?" Here was the answer. He got a letter from his oldest daughter who was in college. She said that she was proud of her father and all that she did and she wanted to become a lawyer like him. This completely undid her father and her mother found him crying in the fetal position in the den.

Here is where the kicker is, his daugther's respect for him and his work was enough to shock him out of his denial that the sin he was involved in was ok. The cognitaive disonence that he knew he was not respectable and yet she respected him, touched him deep in his soul. This story resonates with me in that this man did the honorable and respectable thing. The more I think about how respect connects with me, the more I agree about the value of respect in the male gender.