Question: Dr. Dobson, are adopted children more likely to be rebellious than children raised by biological parents? If so, are there any steps I can take to prevent or ease the conflict? My husband
If you live in mainstream media and consume the male-bashing commercials and shows, you'd believe that most women lead or "wear the pants" in their homes, and the majority of guys are more than willing to let them do it. While I agree our men need to collectively step up their leadership efforts, I also know that most men want to lead their families well, and the majority of women out there want that as well.
The topic of male leadership within the family recently garnished even more national attention when a car commercial depicted a couple driving in their car looking for a parking place. The wife was driving, and the husband, seated in the passenger side, was suggesting that the wife park the car in an open space that was apparently a distance away from their son's football game. The wife appears quite annoyed at her wimpy husband as she makes the comment that "someone has to wear the pants in this family" and proceeds to park the car on a nearby hill. All of this takes place as their son sits quietly in the back seat, albeit geared up for his football game.
When I watched the commercial, what struck me even more than the man being quite passive, was the cold and hostile attitude of the mom. Not a great depiction of a happy couple at all. And this is suppose to sell me a car?
Yet, the commercial hits on a trending reality of the declining role of male leadership within the American family. Since the beginning of time, God has called men to lead their families, i.e. to "wear the pants." Yet, what does it look like for a husband/father to lead his family?
1. It doesn't mean that our wives are too weak or incapable of "wearing the pants."
While God calls the man to lead his wife and children, God makes it clear that marriage is a partnership, i.e. we are co-heirs in Christ. By no means does leadership mean dictatorship (Jesus spoke against the "lording over" mentality of the ruling religious leaders in His day). My wife and I make collective decisions on a regular basis. Yet, in the same light that we have and need a hierarchy of leadership within every organization, God gave us an indisputable model of leadership within the home (Ephesians 5:22-6:4). Every business needs to have a CEO or president. However, it doesn’t mean that the people that work for this leader are lesser men and women. The same applies for our families. Men, God has positioned you to lead your families. It’s high-time we step up to deliver in a manner that reflects God's love and equality. Yet, before we "step up," we need to take a step down and submit ourselves before God and our wives.
"...submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." Eph. 5:21
Unfortunately, too many women, whether single moms or wives dealing with husbands that refuse to lead, are forced to "wear the pants" for their families. The women and children in our communities need our help. Children of all ages need to see real men that are willing to set the example of what a godly man should look like (see God's "Real Man" List).
2. We must be willing to go to battle for our families.
To contradict most of the pop-culture psychology that is being communicated through our public institutions and main-stream media today, the biological facts that substantiates the differences between men and women are real. Men and women, while co-heirs in Christ, are designed differently to serve different purposes. However, we live during times when political correctness has gone insanely out-of-control. What are we thinking when we (America) are placing our women alongside men on the battlefront? The social and military consequences should be obvious. It pains me to think what this will mean for American wives, moms and daughters in the future.
Yet, I also look at this decision as an opportunity for men to live out their leadership calling and to make a declarative statement that stands out as a stark contrast. Regardless of what our culture and "PC" government officials may choose, we can resolve to be men that "wear the pants" in our own homes. As husbands and fathers, we need to live on the front-line of the battlefield of life for our family. Without question, our wives and children must know we will go to battle for them regardless of the cost. Christ embodied the concept of meekness, power under restraint, and we are called to follow Him in this pursuit.
3. We lead best when we love most.
As our supreme example, the life of Jesus Christ taught us how to lead. As men, we are also given an explicit command to love our wives as Christ loved His church. This means our leadership focus is one of love and self-sacrifice. It's our calling to put our wives and children before ourselves. Regardless of what our schools are teaching our kids, biblical chivalry is not dead! As dads, our children need to see us lovingly and relentlessly serving our family in a bold and purposeful manner. We need to be a model of leadership that embodies the qualities and missional purpose of Christ's new commandment: To love others as Christ loved us. If we succeed here as a husband and a father, we will have succeeded in life where it matters most.
4. Our lives are a mission.
Every great leader pursues a higher calling and purpose that transcends his own life. Again, Jesus is the pinnacle example of a "man" living for a mission beyond Himself. Quite frankly, this is my biggest motivator as a husband and as a father. I'm not here for me. I'm divinely positioned in this time and space to serve God for a purpose that reaches far beyond my own life. I'm counting on God to use me to impact my family, my community and this world for His ultimate glory.
From a practical standpoint, as dads, we need to continually look for those teachable moments to build the love and truth of God's word into our children's hearts and minds. The book of Proverbs and other explicit verses instructs our children to listen to the teachings of their fathers/parents. Men, like Christ, we need to be disciple-makers. First and most, this needs to happen in our own homes. For me, I've resolved to make this one of my highest life priorities. I also realize that my greatest life lesson to my children will be how I love their mother. I can't say this with enough emphasis—one of the greatest heritage-makers we will give to our children is the love and devotion we show to our wives.
5. Our manhood is undeniably woven into our character and our actions.
This may be getting deep, but it's true. You can't separate a person from their gender. Unfortunately, that's exactly what's beginning to happen in America today. We're attempting to go genderless. God created us—man and woman. While sin has no doubt caused some complications that confuse the biology and psychology as to what this means at times, the extreme vast majority of people are biologically clearly a man or a woman.
It's high-time that we wake up and not deny our God-given gender but embrace it. Men need to be men, and women need to be women. Understand this: I can't be a good man and not love my wife and my children. I can't be a good man and not put my family's interests above my own. I can't be a good man and watch pornography. I can't be a good man and abuse my children. I can't be a good man and not intentionally look to build Christ into the lives of my wife and children. If able to work, I can't be a good man and not do all I can to support my family.
"Wearing the pants" means to lead within one's home. Men, this is our God-given calling. While some women may want to "wear the pants," I believe most desire for the men to lead their families. Our wives and sons and daughters need to see us "wearing the pants" and setting an example of what it means for a man to be the spiritual leader of his home. The next generation of America depends upon it.
For all the women out there that still desire for their husbands to lead or "wear the pants" in their homes, I want to encourage you to keep praying and looking to build your men up. God has done and can do a mighty work through the prayer of a woman when it comes to her husband and children. Don't give up…most men out there truly want to be the leader for their families.