What's a Feminist Mom to Do? Gender Roles and Primary
I recently learned about a song primary kids all over the country are learning. It’s called “The Family is of God” and here are the 2nd and 3rd verses.
A father’s place is to preside, provide,
To love and teach the gospel to his children.
A father leads in fam’ly prayer to share
Their love for Father in Heaven.
3. A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,
To love and serve in the fam’ly.
Finding out that this is the type of song that is being taught in primary has unsettled me. Particularly so since my son is entering primary this January. I never worried about what he was being taught in nursery – benign lessons about how God and Jesus love children don’t set off any major alarm bells. But songs like this…? Oh my.
I’ve been wondering this whole week what I can do about the presentation of gender roles that my child will be encountering in primary. I’m very uncomfortable with such stark presentations of the subject – it’s important to me that my son understand that both moms and dads can provide and preside and nurture, and that it’s wonderful when that works for a particular family.
So what’s a feminist mom to do in this situation? Here are some options I’ve been considering:
a) talk to the primary president and express my concerns about the presentation of gender roles. Ask her her thoughts on the subject. Ask if there’s any way she can affirm, acknowledge and present families in all their varieties, in addition to teaching the ‘ideal’.
b) ask for a list of lessons that will be taught to my child throughout the year. be sure to be present on those Sundays when the Proclamation or family is to be discussed, so that I can do private damage control later.
c) offer to provide resources and ideas on how make lessons on the family more inclusive. For instance, I would be happy to obtain and print out pictures of diverse families, or find examples in the scriptures of righteous families who didn’t fit the mold.
-Do any of you have ideas on how to handle troubling teachings in primary?
-Do you think it’s best to take a proactive approach, as I’ve outlined above, or do you think it’s better to just let kids be taught the black and white now, with the hope that they will learn nuance as they get older?