Monday, September 20, 2004

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights?
Several casual conversations over the past week have gotten me thinking about the importance of education, no matter what the ultimate use of such education may be. It is rare, but I occassionally hear a woman say something to the effect that her education was wasted because she now "just" stays home with her children. I couldn't disagree more.

I have many friends who stay home with their children, among whom there are microbiologists, attorneys, accountants, and doctors. These women are some of the best mothers I know. They teach their children to love learning. The go on family field trips that are entertaining and educational. They model confidence and intelligence, which will serve their children well in more ways than one. First of all, the children feel a certain measure of safety knowing their mothers can handle a wide variety of situations and, secondly, the children take on some of that confidence themselves.

The influence on the educated parent's children is not the only positive aspect of a learned adult population. Higher education strengthens the fabric of a nation. We make better decisions at the polls and on committees. We grow better crops. We make better products. We produce better leaders. We rear better children. No amount of education is wasted simply because the educated person does not engage in industry for profit.


Blogger Penny said...

Jan, that was a brilliant posting! Of course I agree with you, but I'm mostly complimenting your prose.

I can remember starting grad school and not really knowing why, except that it was paid for because my parents worked at the university, and I was pretty sure I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but was neither married nor expecting children at the time. So I knew I had to do something else for a few years! I remember very clearly that I told a friend of mine that I was studying communication in grad school, specifically because I thought it was an important skill for a mother to refine. This male friend of mine just could not fathom why I would get a graduate degree and then stay home with kids. I wish I would've had your words back then, Jan!

I'm also recalling a recent interview that Oprah conducted with Maria Shriver, where Maria said she was trying not to use the words "just a mom" and also to state simply that she's a mother. Not to say, "I used to be a journalist" or "I used to be a professor, but now I . . ."

Shriver went on to say that she came up with a saying which she's using in a museum in Sacramento, about what women have contributed to the state. It says: "Motherhood, 24-7, on the front lines of humanity." She followed by saying there is "power in that. And then people get it right away when you say that, because we are on the front lines of humanity. We are creating the next generation. We are creating society. Whether we are polite, kind, peaceful."

I'm not a big fan of Arnold or Maria, but I liked that so much that I ordered the transcript (4/29/04).

Thanks, Maria. And thanks, Jan, for your intelligent posting!

7:59 PM, September 20, 2004  
Blogger Kyndal said...

Jan, I loved this post and I really needed to hear it today! I couldn't have put it better myself. I had a baby shortly after law school and decided to stay home with Cole rather than enter the workforce. You should've seen some of the looks I got. ;) Next time, I'll just refer them to your blog.

2:32 PM, September 21, 2004  

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