I had to read the article a couple of times before I figured out what Jenet was
really saying: 1) Her mom is great; 2) Let's support all women. Pretty tough to argue those points. The whole side story about graduates of
elite schools is interesting filler, but doesn't advance the discussion
very much due to its limit scope. And let's give 3 cheers for Education!
In the past few decades more than those preceding them, LDS Church
leaders have been encouraging women to get as much education as they can. Why?
IMO its first of all for personal growth and edification; second for increased
earning power; third, to better teach one's children. Yet
"education" remains somewhat undefined in this context. College degree?
Advanced degree? Vocational training? Personal study? All of the above?It's an unfortunate human trait that we view the world through our own
glasses and at times have difficulty seeing it through someone else's. More
education for women (and men) should be a no-brainer...whereas the decision to
pursue a degree might not be. Hence, the second of the themes: support all women
in their choices (and stop judging them.)
Erickson's article is correct; a higher degree for a woman is never, ever a
waste. However, there is another aspect to this issue that I am sure Erickson
would also agree with: mothers need to be at "the table" where decisions
about society's priorities and resource commitments are being made. It is
wonderful for a mom to hug and educate her child. But a mom's duty to her
children goes beyond this--she must help shape the world in which her child will
live. If she does not, then she is sending her precious, beloved child out into
a world that will harm them--what kind of mother is willing to relinquish a
place at the table where important decisions about the world are being made?
No, good mothers have a responsibility to their children both within the home
and outside the home. Erickson has embraced that view; that is why, as a
mother, she teaches at BYU and writes this column. Would that all LDS moms
heeded her example, and adopted her broader view about the responsibilities of a
mother to her children!
I can't count how many times that I've seen women left indigent when
their husbands loose their jobs or are no longer in the picture. Having a
college education in a employable field is a preparation for future hardship and
for raising children.I am glad my wife decided to graduate with
masters when she was 23. By that time we had a couple of kids.
Brigham Young was a major proponent of women's education- look up the entry
called "Education" in the Journal of Discourses- Volume 1, page 66. "education commences with the mother, and the child in connection...
It depends in a great degree upon the mother, as to what children receive, in
early age, of principle of every description... When will mothers understand
this? Knowing that this is the case, I am perplexed with grief when I see such a
wanton diversion from the real design of life, it causes me to mourn for my
poor, ignorant, fellow mortals, and sometimes almost goads me to anger. I can
see mothers pay attention to everything under heaven, but the training up of
their children in the way they should go."As for moms sitting
home while children are at school- Yes, that is a waste. And I don't
know any moms who do that. We have natural inclinations to be doing, reaching,
serving, and learning.
Totally disagree with the article. Of course what you learned in college can
help staying at home but the same knowledge could be obtained online, via
mentors, etc. To gain an advanced degree to stay home and raise children is a
waste of talent. The children will grow up one way or the other. Once a child
is in school Mom is sitting home for 6 hours a day and not using her God given
On the debt issue--I started with $100,000 in student loans--I now have none. I
make $400,000 a year because I got an excellent education in a profession that
pays well and I have worked hard. Don't be short sighted by thinking that
you can't have debt--just be careful--but GO FOR IT!
I am concerned that my church (the LDS church) is way behind the times in
emphasizing higher education for women. We are reaping the whirlwind of single
and married women working for peanuts with no ability to support a family if
needed. I have 3 children in Provo (one at UVU and two at BYU) which is still
emphasizing a liberal arts and oh well attitude about women actually finishing a
degree with skills to work if needed. BYU TV has an ad which encourages students
to come back and finish a degree in General Studies--what a waste!We
say we encourage it, but we don't in reality as a culture or church. We
need to our priorities in order. Also, I agree that women's education is
not wasted--we need competent women to take the primary role in raising
children. EDUCATION SHOULD BE PRIORITIZED FOR WOMEN IN WORD AND
I completely agree, I think my degree is extremely helpful in my role as mother,
even when I'm not earning money outside of the home. I do think
there is one valid thing to consider here, though. Debt. If you go into debt for
your education, you are committing to work for x number of years after you
graduate to pay back the debt. This could be 10 years! If you aren't
earning money after you graduate, this debt is a huge problem. Debt makes the
choice to stay-at-home a lot less viable.My solution--if you want to
have that choice, figure out how to go to school without debt. Go to a cheaper
school, get scholarships, whatever it takes. It is not necessarily easy but I
was so grateful when I graduated to have the freedom that comes from being debt
free. It allowed me to quit my job when my first child was born a few years
later. I have never regretted my degree or my choice to focus my time on my
I want my daughters to have options. So they can pursue motherhood and/or work
if they want to. Being educated can only make them better mothers and/or
employees or even bosses and business owners.
I am a Mormon mother with an elite degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
When I met the President of UPenn at a reception, she asked what my career was,
and I told her that I had mostly used my degree to raise 6 children. She said
that that was a wonderful contribution to society. Now that my children
are nearly grown (last one graduates from high school next spring), I have
recently returned to the work force after a 19-year break and (1) I find it very
rewarding to practice my profession again and (2) my employer is impressed with
my organizational and leadership skills.Really--what better training is
there for a manager than organizing and nurturing 6 different children at once,
volunteering in the community, serving at church, partnering with your husband
in all this, finding balance, and sticking to principles?Actually--being a
stay-at-home mother is the hardest thing I have ever done, and all preparation
But it is not at all incorrect to suggest it can or should be applied outside
the home. And children are an option.
I agree with this article. My well educated mother instilled in me an
appreciation for learning plus exposure to the humanities and literature that
has blessed all of her childrens' lives. Though she was a stay at home mom,
my wife's educational background was a blessing to all six of our children.
Particularly beneficial degrees for mothers are in the humanities and English
Literature but just the exposure to higher education is a blessing. It would be
great if universities offered degrees in home schooling. There is so much
available now to help mothers who are so inclined. The need for home schooling
is growing as the quality and environment of our public schools continue to
Our children's up bringing development and education, especially in the
earliest years of their lives should not be contracted out to the lowest bidder,
if it can be helped. I completely agree with this article. The
education of mothers who will stay home to raise their children is by far one of
the most important activities our society can engage in.