Sunday, May 24, 2015

Accounting for a lack of virtue

In the comment section over at Alpha Game, commenter Jack Amok responded to this comment:
I have often thought that much of Game and Red Pill theory assumes a general lack of virtue, especially in women.
with:
You can look at it as either accounting for a lack of virtue, or assuming it. Those are different attitudes, and both are exhibited by different sets of people in the manosphere. 
 Our relationships with our daughters and other women become simplified and more productive if we, as women, embrace what men, who are successful in the socio/sexual realm, embrace.

As the more social of the sexes, we, as mothers, will witness or learn of our daughter's social interactions and will be in a position to give them advice and mentor them on how to respond and react to various social exchanges. We entertain more banal or trivial conversations with them than their fathers generally do. It is within those conversations that we can help our daughters the most with their perspectives, reactions, and attitudes.

For example, one of my daughters had a, for lack of a better word, stimulating social interaction with some friends. I could tell that whatever they talked about energized her. However when I learned what she and the girls were talking about my mother's heart sank and my concern for her relationship with God prompted me right into mentoring mode. Their conversation was about another girl. Their conversation was pure gossip.

The girl who was being gossiped about had done something they didn't like and they decided, as women do, to tighten the ranks of their herd by casting out the member who had gone afoul and solidifying solidarity among the remaining members with the fear of shame and becoming an outcast if the they themselves should make the same error.

There are several different ways I could have approached parenting this situation.

- The worst way would to have given tacit approval of the gossip by either not disciplining her or by agreeing that whatever the outcast member had done was grounds for a gossip session. This would be justifying her sin and engaging in gossip myself - a very tempting option for mothers who are in the habit of seeing their daughters as infallible extensions of themselves or are unwilling to take the time to mentor, correct, and instruct them at every opportunity that presents itself.

- I could have appealed to "ought" -
You ought to have known better.
This is an expression of expectation of someone's virtue that can be very frustrating to the wrongdoer. If I hadn't explicitly taught her this lesson she was about to learn, how should she have known better? Should it have been innate?

If I believe I, as a woman, innately posses the virtue that prevents me from joining in gossip then perhaps this expectation is warranted. But what now? My own daughter doesn't posses the natural virtue that I believe we are born with?

Also, my own honesty betrays me with the truth that I too have engaged in this type of gossip before. In fact I really don't know a woman who hasn't. I've met some really devoted Christians who are honest with fighting back the temptation to gossip - which means they too don't innately posses the virtue needed to prevent the temptation.

Ought doesn't work here. And to tell her "You ought to have known better," keeps "is" in denial.

Which leads me back to Jack's comment:
You can look at it as either accounting for a lack of virtue...
- I could respond to may daughter in a manner that accounts for her lack of virtue in this area. Which is what I did. When she told me of the conversations that were had, I calmly said to her, "Honey, you participated in gossip. That's not good." I then took the time to have a long conversation with her letting her know I understand how this happens, why it happens, and how to prevent it from happening in the future. We discussed the other girl's perspective and what she would feel like in that girl's shoes. We discussed how this sort of thing does not help anyone, in fact if we continue to engage in it and relish the false fulfillment we get from it, we are led down to deeper pits because as it is sin, it is insatiable. It leads to a damaged relationship with God and our own health and well being. I explained that resisting the urge to gossip isn't as much about protecting the girl who is the subject of the gossip, it is about protecting our own selves and choosing the path, though it is oftentimes difficult, that leads to a more fulfilling and joy filled realization that we have chosen God's Truth over Satan's lies.

RLB has been very good at accounting for the virtues that I have lacked. I appreciate the fact that he doesn't allow me to stay in my sin or keep my vices. He doesn't assume I ought to know better. He's not disappointed in me or disgusted by that which I don't naturally possess yet he does. He just corrects me as he believes he should.

Just yesterday I had an emotional reaction to a news story: "This is just ridiculous!" He listened for just a few seconds as I escalated my outrage. He then stopped me and said, "Don't be emotional about this." And then demonstrated how he shares my opinion but is able to do so without changing his mood.

Funny, I talk with my daughters about that quite often. "External circumstances do not determine our moods."

Recognizing that I lack this innate calm, rational approach to mood regulation helps me to account for it in my daughters and other women.

I am still accountable and responsible for my failures. Merely not possessing an innate trait does not relieve us, as women, from the consequences. We need to wisely learn from each situation and commit ourselves to pursue possessing the virtues that don't come naturally. While RLB is very patient with me, there is a limit to what he will put up. If he knows I have demonstrated the internalization of virtuous behavior, but am choosing presently to act as if I lack the virtue, he correctly sees it as rebellion to God and addresses that instead. Which is another thing we, as mothers, should be on the lookout for with our daughters. It's neither "You ought to have known better," nor an accounting for her lack of virtue,  at that point it is: "I know you DO know better - it's time to talk about rebellion."

1 comment:

  1. "External circumstances do not determine our moods."

    SD,

    Your husband has given me some things to ponder. I have an ongoing battle to figure out what my purpose in life is since being rejected by my adopted children. That is not as simple as seeing a bad story on the news, but his comment about outside events not being what should drive us fits with what I believe God was telling me just a few minutes before I read that.

    Tougher to walk it out with such a major "wound," but the principle really is the only way to survive.

    A bit OT for the post, but I figure he might like to know.

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