Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What do you want to be?

From what I've been told, the question of what a child wants to be "when (they) grow up" is a common one in most households. It wasn't that way in mine. In ATI, kids just aren't asked this in the way that most kids are outside of ATI. I may stumble explaining it but I'll give it a try. For one, the question never came from my parents. If my parents talked to us about our future, it was always laced with directed suggestions about the biblical role we were to fulfill. I'll give you an example:
Normal house: What do you want to be when you grow up?
ATI house/My house: Do you understand and accept God's commandment to be fruitful and multiply? Do you accept His plan for you as a wife and mother? What talents do you think God has given you to help you meet this commandment? Will it serve God?
Boys were given slightly more leeway because they could use their "talents" to provide for their family financially.

I have always loved reading and before I knew what a librarian was, I would "play" with my books. I would line up our books in alphabetical order and suggest titles to family and friends. Then, one day, we went to the library for some reason. This normally wasn't allowed because not all the books in the public library were "approved" and might contain inappropriate materials. This one day, though, we were there and I saw a librarian doing what I had been "playing" all my life. It was a lightbulb moment for me. This was what I wanted to do and it had a place in society. Not too long afterward, a nighttime conversation in the family turned to our goals in "serving" the Lord and I said I wanted to be a librarian. You really could've heard a pin drop. I may as well have said that I wanted to enter a prostitution ring. I was asked how that vocation would serve the Lord in "our purpose" to raise up a righteous army. At eleven, I couldn't think of a good answer, so my father told me that if I felt a calling to books, I should consider being a missionary because there I could give the Word of the Lord to those in need.

I'm hoping to be a librarian. If I can stick to this, then it might come to pass.

I posted this topic since I received an e-mail question about why I thought a certain QF family's son didn't go to law school. I don't know the answer to that. I only know that a child's future goals aren't as open, in ATI families, as they might be in a regular family. A child can express their desire but it will be held up to a different set of criteria. A "normal" parent might ask the child if the occupation would support their family or fit the child's personality. Would it be attainable given circumstances or talents? An ATI family asks if it takes too much time away from baby making. An ATI parent would ask if working for someone else is really following God's commandments. If the child is a female, the ATI parent would remind her that God made her for a purpose and to deny that purpose by having a conflicting career would put your eternal future in question. It's a different set of rules.


  1. Well, I'm a librarian "in real life" and I'd be happy to be a mentor. I even work for, gasp!, a Christian University!!!

  2. That's so cute how you played "library" before even setting foot in one. I'd almost venture to say that was a pretty solid sign from God...

  3. I am a Christian and currently in library science school. I am an avid reader and love books, but being a librarian also appeals to me because it's a service-oriented job and as a Christian I want to serve others.

    Libraries and librarians exist to serve their patrons. If I can treat a patron with respect and kindness and go out of my way to help them find a particular book or material they want, I believe that pleases God. If I can put on a program that will entertain and educate children or help adults create outstanding resumes that will help them get jobs, I believe that pleases God.

    I truly believe that nearly all professions can be used to bring glory to God, if we approach them with the right attitude. I am truly happy for you that you know what you want to do with your life and I pray that God will use you in that field.

  4. Small world-I'm hoping to be in a school library position (at a Christian elementary school) after Winter break (still waiting to hear).

    I would think that there would be a need for such skills in the ATI community. At least around here, where there are a ton of Christian home schoolers, there are pretty involved materials/curriculum libraries for parents to share resources, mostly hosted in churches, and there certainly are home school moms who appear to be raising their own Godly armies who are in charge of such libraries.

  5. It's also my goal to become a librarian and I am currently pursuing my masters in Library and Information Science. I wish you the best of luck with your studies.

  6. Hi Ruth,

    I found your blog through TWoP. I just finished my Masters in Library and Information Science in May. It was the best thing I've ever done. I had a graduate assistantship, so my tuition was free, which was essential. If you have any questions or want to talk to someone about the field, please feel free to send me an e-mail at kristinmlis@yahoo.com

    Best of luck to you! Thanks for sharing your story with us on TWoP.


  7. I am a Library and Information Studies student who has a morbid interest in all things Quiverfull/Patriarchal and my heart aches for you, Ruth. I too was homeschooled and though my parents weren't ATI/Gothard, I fell into the "performance Christianity" trap. If you ever want to talk about school, librarianship or just life, drop me a line.



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