Women and Children First?

On A Sinking Ship – It’s
Every Man For Himself

Back in the days of the steam ship, only rich white folk could afford to cruise the high seas.  On one such trip, their boat struck a rock and began to sink resulting in all of the passengers fearing for their lives.  A number thought about praying, but no one knew how.  Then one suggested, “I believe black people know how to pray and the cook is black, so let’s get him.”  All agreed with the idea.  John was brought up from the kitchen below to the deck above.  The situation was explained to him and he prayed as follows “Dear Lord, when I was hungry, I went to eat on the ship and the sign on the door said, ‘for whites only.”  Then when I was thirsty, I went to get a drink on the ship and the sign on the wall said, ‘for whites only.”  Then when I went to use the restroom, the sign on the stall said, ‘for whites only.’  And Lord, forgive me for I know it isn’t very spiritual, but now this ship is sinking and may it be, ‘For Whites Only.’”

Well, according to a new study, the noble idea of “women and children first” when it comes to a ship sinking at sea is a complete myth.  Dr. Mikael Elinder, professor of nautical studies at Uppsala University in Stockholm, Sweden, looked at 18 maritime disasters taking place in the years 1852 -2011.  They  involved some 15,000 passengers from over 30 nations.  And, contrary to popular opinion, the good professor found that the survival rate of women was less than half that of men, and children had the lowest survival rate of all …   PASTOR’S PAGE (Continued)

Professor Elinder comments, “In almost all of the  shipwrecks I studied, women and children had a far lower survival rate than that of men.  It appears that  when the ship is going down, male chivalry all but disappears and it truly is, ‘every man for himself.’  Also I found that captains do not generally go down with the ship either, as they and their crew had an even higher survival rate than that of the male passengers.”  The professor also added that he failed to find any support for the idea that male gallantry is greater on English ships, as women and children on British-registered vessels were just as likely to die as those on foreign-registered ones.

The only exception in the report was that of the Titanic.  There  the gender survival rates were reversed with 74% of women and 52% of children making it into the lifeboats compared to just 20% of men.  Dr. Elinder states that one of the reasons for this was because men of strong Christian faith were on the deck, some holding guns, and threatening violence to any man trying to shove a woman or child aside as they entered lifeboats.

(An interesting Titanic footnote – Professor Elinder also discovered that the survival rate for women on the ship would have been even higher had not some spent so much time in their cabins changing their outfits and fixing their hair and make-up for arrival to shore in a lifeboat.  Sadly, these ladies went down with the ship.)

The bottom line?   A Christian man always puts women and children first, especially those of his own family.  He does this by daily providing for them, and if need be, giving up his life to save theirs.  The  only time  he’s for himself, is when he knows that his wife and his kids are fine.  That is what it means to be captain of his ship.