…but here’s what the scoffers don’t understand.
When morning television hosts mocked a Brisbane mum for creating a loving home, it wasn’t only rude: it was bullying. And what does their scoffing tell us about our society and its values?
Something has caught my eye on social media. It was a clip from Channel 9’s Today which had got some attention as far away as America.
So I watched it, and it rankled. It got under my skin in a way that this stuff usually doesn’t.
Here’s what has happened: the hosts of Today have found a Facebook post from an unsuspecting Brisbane mother of four called Brooke Smith. The host, Allison Langdon, prefaces what she’s about to say with “Let me take you back to the 1950s.” And then, full of condescending smirks, she proceeds to read Brooke’s post, with a picture of Brooke on the screen for all to see.
The post reads, “I always make sure I don’t go to bed until everyone’s lunches are packed, their clothes are set out for the next day including my husband’s and the house is clean, dishwasher is on and load of washing on.” It continues, “Sometimes it means I get to bed at 9, sometimes that means I go to bed at midnight but I always get up early (4.30 with husband to make his breakfast and coffee).”
As Allison Langdon is reading it out, there are audible groans from the other presenters, and Allison sarcastically says at the end, “Go, Brooke. Whatever.”
Allison says she cannot believe that people online are praising Brooke for what she does. And co-presenters Chris Smith and Karl Stefanovic make an urgent effort to show their feminist viewers how ‘woke’ and man-hating they are as they start laying into this lady’s husband never having met him, with Chris asking, “Has he hypnotised her or something?"
As if that wasn’t enough, Today then took that clip and tweeted it with this caption: “A Brisbane mum has been SLAMMED after revealing online that she doesn’t go to bed until the house is clean…” etc.
Slammed by whom? Well, by Allison Langdon and presumably by the jeers and laughs of everybody else, including Chris who asks, “Who does this stuff?”
I’ll tell you who does this stuff. People who want to serve others do this stuff. People who are selfless do this stuff. People who live for something outside of themselves do this stuff. Good people.
Here’s a hypothetical. What if Brooke had said, “I always make sure I don’t go to bed until all my client emails are sent and my work is updated. I wake at 4.30 am to get ahead of a busy day, and check in with my boss and start work on the right foot. Sometimes that means I miss out on sleep, but hard work has seen me promoted and given me high status in my company. I hope to make CEO next year.”
Would that get mocked? We all know the answer.
Here’s the difference between those two scenarios: Brooke Smith does what she does for free. She’s not remunerated. She does not ascend some scale of power that the world thinks is praiseworthy. No, she’s actually given that away. Why? For love of other people.
Just imagine: doing selfless things to enrich the lives of your children and your husband simply because you love them and care about them, and seeing others blessed and happy is more important to you than anything else.
Oh, haha, isn’t that funny? Hilarious! How mockable! How pathetic, say the scoffers.
And that’s what I think these are. The Bible is full of that term, “scoffers”. These scoffers are people whose god is materialism, dollars, status, appearance, success, because they spend their mornings in front of a TV camera, often just talking about banality, and they cannot comprehend that somebody else would do something altogether more priceless for honourable reasons.
I don’t think that’s too harsh. The way they laughed and shook their heads showed that they cannot comprehend it.
I’m at the edge of a big topic here and I’m not going to deal with it in full today but I’m going to address part of it. (I might step on 75 landmines in the process – but I think Brooke and others like her need defending.)
I think we’ve bought some lies in relation to this whole area of thinking. I think we’ve imbibed, for example, the lie that a person’s value is tied to their status in materialistic terms.
Everyone is always on about, say, women’s empowerment and equality, but what do they mean by that? Mostly they mean, how many women are in the boardroom or how many are on the benches in the parliament or how many are on the Forbes rich list. They don’t mean quotas for female labourers or jobs that they don’t think are lucrative or powerful or glamorous. They rage against the patriarchy, and for what? Political power, financial power, and earthly wealth.
I once heard Dr Jordan Peterson speaking about some of the biggest issues he and other professionals are seeing in their clinical practice, and the biggest was related to this very matter. He sounded a timely warning, saying, particularly to younger women, “Be very careful about the false promise and the false hype around the fulfillment of a career.”
First of all, it’s far more likely that you’ll have a job, not a career. For most people, it’s just a job, and not the end of their fulfillment. I’ve just hit my 30s, and I see a lot of women around my age hitting the ejector seat button because they’re realising that they want to do other things with their life. They’re realising that there are things that they consider to be far more important, and the big law firms and the big finance firms and the corporates still struggle to keep them.
Is that wrong? Is that a terrible thing to observe? Is there something inherently outrageous about that? Of course not. Definitely not.
I was reading Genesis the other day (and perhaps I am going to step on a landmine here) but I was struck by the gender differences, by the fact that “male and female he created them”, at different times, out of different materials, and for different stated purposes.
I guess it struck me afresh that while the world says the distinctions between male and female aren’t real, it’s just not true. It’s embedded really firmly in Genesis: man and woman were made at different times, from different materials, and for different stated purposes. The distinction is drawn. And two of the words that are used of women are words that can create a feminist brain explosion. One, from the mouth of God, is “helper”. The other is given in the name “Eve” – i.e., “mother”.
We cannot count it as unusual or wrong if there are women who want to do that, who seek after one or both of these things. It’s quite natural; and, shock horror, it might even be good, a great good that we’ve completely lost sight of because we cannot view the world through anything other than identity politics lenses.
What she does, she does for love; it’s the strange paradox that there’s great reward in living for others.
If you are in that category – if you are a helper and a mother – I just want to say never ever be ashamed of it. Never believe the lie that there’s anything wrong about it.
And this is where Brooke comes in. You know, she’s no fool, regardless of whether TV hosts might laugh at her; regardless of whether she might live in a culture that’s materialistic and doesn’t understand. What she does, she does for love; it’s the strange paradox that there’s great reward in living for others.
That’s the call of Christ on our lives, no matter who we are, man or woman. Brooke’s doing the very thing that we don’t think we want to do at first and yet it’s the very thing that we’re so glad we did in hindsight because it was the right thing and it was a good thing.
What a precious thing it is to be part of making a home into a place of shelter, belonging and peace, a place where people thrive, a place where love is received and given in abundance. It’s a precious thing to have four children who will hold you in their hearts all of their lives.
And yes, hear it from the patriarchal white guy: it’s a precious thing to have a husband and a wife who love each other in equal measure and will do anything for each other; who live in such a way that each other’s interests and comforts are best served, till death do they part. That is a magnificent thing.
Brooke, let them laugh. They’ve got no idea what they’re talking about. And this is bullying.
Let’s stick up for people who get bullied by the scoffers because they simply cannot understand the goodness of the lives that people like Brooke want to lead. I’m here to defend Brooke and many others who I know watch this program and are in exactly the same situation and are doing a very great deal of good. This is not only of temporal significance. Yes, there’s a loving home being made, but that’s not all. It’s of eternal significance.
And if the feminists really want power… to have the hearts and minds of a generation in your hands and raise them is a powerful thing. That’s what we do as parents. And if a woman wants to invest more time in that, good on her.