Many women are happy with this traditional role, even if they want to take some part in the wider commercial, academic or professional duties because they have particular skills, or because they just need extra activities outside the house to keep them healthy. We spoke of this yesterday in the context of Jan Croucher's article on women: jmm.org.au
Women who choose the world of leadership in whatever field of endeavour, wherein they obviously compete against the forces of nature, family responsibility, gender bias, historical demands, spending time away from home, and the stamina required for such a high level decision making.
There is ample evidence and documentation on all of the above list, but in my view, as a theologian, the last item, the hard head stamina (emotional, physical and a hard head regardless of the pain suffered by others) required for a high level of decision making, is an area that little and research has been developed.
'Hard Head' decision making
There in an unknown factor associated with the demands on a 'hard head' level of decision making, but it is one I have witnessed in the top echelon of those in the corporate world in Christian ministry over these past 36 years.
For 17 of these years I served as the Australian cricket team chaplain and as such, it may not be a surprise to the informed at least, that much of this ministry, was associated with a breadth of those in the corporate world that associated themselves with top level sport.
One of the roles I undertook was to visit the corporate boxes during the cricket and from those many links came independent ministry outside of the world of cricket and involved private meeting places – this is where I put on my weight with so many corporate lunches (which my wife says is phooey).
This 'hard head' stamina these corporate men experienced had very little to do with exercise or lack of it, rather the demands placed upon them to meet the bottom line and the human cost that weighed upon their hearts in that, to meet such bottom line financial demands: It meant that good, loyal, trusted and honest people in middle and upper management needed to be let go.
Stories are replete of men in the corporate world, who having lost their jobs, left home at the usual time each morning, only to sit in the park, as the horror of telling their spouses and children of their drama after such faithful, diligent and sacrificial service was beyond their mental and emotional capacities.
But they are not the only casualties, there is another group of silent casualties in this war, the war of the bottom line, where corporate cannon fodder is just as decimating as it is "going over the top" (as it were).
These top level corporate men experience an enormous 'hard head' stamina drain on their person with such high level decision making. This created innumerable sleepless nights, heartache that demanded a special kind of rest and respite, and a physical bondage that engulfed many of them.
Moreover that's not the end of it, there is a host of other 'blood on the floor' scenarios that occur at board room level and some of these include the corporate disease discussed in a previous article of mine on the subject of aggrievement. (au.christiantoday.com)
This became a pastoral issue in my many years in Christian ministry at this level, which initiated Executive Ministries, another area of my breadth of ministry. Throughout history there have been ruthless women such as Joan of Arc, Queen Bloody Mary, Elizabeth 1 who have shown a stoicism of decision making of astonishing grandre.
The issue is that even the very top shelf of the corporate world, there are men who sustain themselves with manageable 'hard head' stamina for these encounters, what I refer to as of the 'seventh kind'. The realistic facts are that many women choose not to have to deal with all this, some prefer a life of less 'hard head' endurance in stamina of this kind (as discussed in the 2nd article).
Although not a gender issue, it is for many women, such decisions not to be involved in that 'hard head' role to a path of a less demanding 'executive' life where, for them, other priorities have taken root. Nonetheless for those who are willing to swing the corporate axe, yield the knife to associates in the back without a blush, spend endless (almost thankless) hours away from those who are most valued and treasured, and can live with the bottom line …. go for it.
I hope no one puts on my grave stone, as it were, "He went for it, regardless".
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html