Some of my truisms are generated in the classroom. They aren’t always things I’ve sat down and considered beforehand; at times, they pop out unexpectedly. For instance, a number of years ago, I was teaching about the founding of Jamestown and was relating the fact that the first ships that arrived had no women in them. The investors in the company who sent over the ships were primarily interested in trade, so they concentrated on setting up a trading post in the New World.
I then talked about the disadvantages of that type of settlement. All men, and no women, is not ideal. In my attempt to inject humor into my teaching, I made a couple of comments that resonated well with the students. They not only laughed about them, but they kind of took on a life of their own, with students continually referring back to them. I meant them as tongue-in-cheek, but they really were statements of reality. Thus were born Snyderian truisms #4 and #5:
You need women to have families.
Men, without women, would be uncivilized.
The Virginia Company ultimately realized they needed to send women to the colony to make it more settled. The nuclear family was the cornerstone of society, so women were needed to bring stability. Men also seem to have this tendency to let things deteriorate without the domestic touch of women. As I tell students, compare a young man’s dorm room with a young woman’s. Which one, on the whole, is neater? This points to the fact that there are distinct differences between men and women. God made those differences on purpose. Marriage is how those distinctives come together to form a compatible and complementary whole.
At the time, I considered those truisms to be unassailable. They were part of the panoply of self-evident truths that didn’t require defense. Unfortunately, since then they are no longer accepted by everyone. I didn’t count on the wholesale redefinition of marriage and family. While I always had a concern for the spiritual demise of our civilization, I had held to the hope that it wouldn’t deteriorate so quickly. Yet we now see the wreckage all around us.
There are times when the most basic facts of life need to be reemphasized. We are now at that stage with respect to the nature of men and women and the Biblical definition of family. As the culture slips away from its moorings, those who stand firm on God’s truths will stand out more starkly. We need to be that light in the moral darkness that now predominates. We are the ones who can help preserve what is worth preserving. Never has the need for salt and light been greater. Are we up to the task?