Friday, December 30, 2011

Why Are Men to Lead?

Why did God choose men to lead? Actually, that is probably the wrong question. As I’m sure you will recall, Paul’s basis for saying that men are the head of the family is based on the fact that God created Adam first and then Eve. Though some people may see that as rather arbitrary because it seems like the luck of the draw whether a person will be either male or female, consider that what God did is not unlike what you would do if you were picking a team of workers. The first person you would pick would the team leader. You would decide what you need in a leader, look for a person who meets those qualifications, and once you found that person, you would pick a team who complimented that person’s style of leadership. God had an advantage over us. He was able to decide what he wanted in a leader and then build the guy to exacting standards. In choosing a helper, he looked first at the creatures that were already there, but when Adam didn’t find anything he liked, God made a helper who complimented Adam perfectly.

When we look at it that way, there is no room for debate over whether men should be the head of the family or not. The leaders of the family are men, by definition. The question that we might be asking is why God gave leaders the characteristics that he did. Some are obvious. If you were trying to make a leader, wouldn’t you want it to be taller and stronger than the rest of the group? And you wouldn’t want a leader who is prone to emotional outbursts. Others aren’t as obvious. Men talk less than women. Men are less nurturing. Men approach problems as an issue to conquer, while women see problems as an opportunity to deepen relationships through discussion. Men approach problems one at a time while women tend consider all at once, but that also leads to women being prone to becoming overwhelmed.

In looking for differences between men and women, I found one particular difference very interesting. In studies done in which groups of boys and groups of girls were tasked with finding their way out of a maze, the boys tended to form a hierarchical structure with a leader and scouts. Girls, on the other hand, tended to remain together, discussed the problem, and employed a “collective intelligence.” Part of why I find this interesting is because not only do boys naturally see the need for a leader, but they naturally look for ways to delegate.

The thing that makes this unpopular is that people have the idea that it is better to lead than it is to follow. So when we start talking about God making men the leaders, people think we’re saying that men are better than women. I don’t think God intended it to be that way. He made men and women to be a matched pair. They are equals, but different. Yes, the man is the head of the family, but he is not free to do whatever he wants. He has the responsibility lead the family where it should be going. Yes, the woman is to follow, but that doesn’t mean she will end up going where she doesn’t want to go because the family is going where we would hope she also would have chosen if it had been her decision. But it frees her to think more about the here and now, which is what women prefer to think about, knowing that the man is planning for the future.