When I was growing up, even in the feminism soaked 1980’s – the word “patriarch” had a sense of honor about it. I saw my father as the leader of our home. I saw the men that signed the Declaration of Independence as the “founding fathers” of our nation. The word “patriarch” was used to describe the biblical heroes like Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Joseph.
But if you hear the word today, it’s almost always surrounded in negativity, and sometimes outright hatred.
What if we could reclaim the word patriarch?
Patriarchy isn’t a bad word
This is a common thing these days, for a word to change in its connotation and its definition – to become a bad thing.
By definition, patriarchy is about the leadership of a father.
Over time, that definition has morphed to also imply the exclusion of females.
I understand that culturally, it may seem unfair that the father’s name is passed down, or that there tend to be more males in positions of leadership. I also understand that sometimes men step into a role of privilege and they do exclude women.
I think though, that the response to patriarchy being express poorly is to toss it all out. To tear down male leadership because some people do it wrong.
Leadership can be shared
In my home, I lead. My wife leads. We lead together.
We have patriarchy and matriarchy.
Don’t allow yourself to be browbeat
I actually think that Critical Theory, and Communist philosophy has a lot to do with the driving factors of this amplified version of feminism. It believes in tearing down power structures. However, it doesn’t offer a good solution for the power vacuum created.
The truth is, men don’t have to be knocked down a peg in order to level the playing field.
Men do need to make room for women. But that doesn’t mean we can’t lead too. It means we BOTH need to respect each other.
Don’t allow the media, social media, or anyone else to browbeat you into thinking that you cannot or should not lead just because you are a male. That’s the exact same philosophy they claim to be fighting against!
It’s about responsibility, not privilege
The thing about leadership that most people don’t understand – is that it is NOT about privilege.
A father leading his family doesn’t mean he gets to eat first at the dinner table because he’s the king… it means he’s the one making sure his family eats.
Leadership is about responsibility and service.
Patriarchy is about responsibility and service.