July 2005


Lately I’ve encountered the following statement regarding homemaking:

…This is my career. If I were in another career there would be just as many demands on my time and energy . . . it would require organization and routines and schedules .

On the one hand, yes, it does help me to look at my housewifery/mothering job as my “career.” It helps the day’s demands and routines seem easier to manage, etc., as I’m not thinking that I just sit at home doing nothing constructive all day. Most likely it’s a psychological approach to the thing, no?

On the other hand, what of mothers and homemakers who work at home as well? Or work outside the home? If a mother does all that I do and works (whether it be a few hours or forty hours a week) at a monetary paying job, something that she’s been educated toward doing, and this is her “career” what is the *other,* then? Is it secondary to her career? Is her job secondary to her “career” as a mother?

Or are homekeeping/mothering/housewifery and the term “career” polar opposites?

I will never forget the first year I marched with my Ph.D. regalia. You have to remember that one of the chief reasons anyone gets her Ph.D. is because geeks so rarely have the best attire in the room. But on graduation day, you really rock with those colorful giant hoods and the groovy tams.

I was the “youngest” Ph.D. and so I marched in next to the oldest — Dr. Panosian. He was always one of my favorite teachers as an undergrad with his sonorous voice and wise words. Dignity on two feet. He oozed a professorial persona. I was always in awe of him.

And here, while singing that sentimental hymn, I marched in with him. A green Ph.D. with folded wrinkles still in my unbesmirched tri-velveted gown. He joked in the line when we were supposed to be quiet. He made gracious small talk to his former HI 101 nobody. He was really charming. And I was struck that I had the honor of honoring those 2002 graduates alongside him.

His wife had been my office mate. I will never forget those two short semesters sitting alongside her in that crowded office. “Some of those WCTU speeches would drive you to drink!” HA! “Remember, Camille, it’s our job to help them find God’s will in their lives.” I still try to channel the spirit of Mrs. Panosian when I sit in front of my sophomore majors deciding their potential in my department. I was never her student, but I always count her as my friend.

And now as my EN102 teacher and I are “sparring” online, I think back. What other way can I come alongside these pillars of the Faith, these bulwarks in the Life of the Mind, if it hadn’t been for my stint in higher education?

I’m honored that I am a peer to those great people while I make my own students my peers.

For many students, beginning college signals a move into a less sheltered existence, where you become increasingly aware of the “dark side” of this world. This was not my personal experience. The first thing I learned in college was that life was not as hopeless, terrible and overwhelming as I feared.

My life as a high school student was chaotic, stressful and punctuated by inappropriate experiences courtesy of my adoptive step-mother, “C”. Life with C was like riding a mega roller-coaster built on a mountain- not your usual ups and downs, but HUGE ups and downs where you thought you might DIE when your little caboose came squealing down the tracks into the valley, only to be thrust up again higher than you really wanted to go, always conscious that you had to come back down. The ride had begun in earnest when my parents divorced shortly before my sweet-sixteenth birthday. C propelled the ride, and I naively contributed time, energy, money, and support to keep her going from one crisis to the next.

When I got to college, my new friends and professors didn’t care about C. For the first time in recent history, she was irrelevant. Her drama which invaded my life in a multitude of ways as a high school student, no longer mattered. It was all about me. After living a life in which everything that happened to me was filtered through the lens of how it would affect C, it was refreshing to my soul to be able to just BE without her shadow cast over me.

Yes, she was still in my life, though not for long. I felt buoyant, floating in a new dimension. I had prayed that my life would be calm, but had begun to doubt it would ever happen. But it had. I began to move in a world where learning was valued not just as an ends to a mean (college degree = rich college husband in C’s mind), but as a good in life. Music, science, literature, friendship, laughter, good books, and hard work refreshed me, renewed me and filled me with hope. The stark contrast of the chaos of my pre-college life and orderliness, purpose and joy of my life in college enabled me to make some hard decisions about my family relationships. My heart softened toward my father and our relationship was restored. I was reunited with my brother R (who had been praying for me during the four years we had been estranged following our father and C’s divorce).

The little lessons and joys of college quickly taught me a big lesson, not to allow my soul to be taken captive by fear and dread. I had confirmation that God is indeed faithful and He hears my prayers and His desire is for relationships to be restored, and love and faith to prevail over fear and dread.

Over the weekend, a friend of mine expressed her concern over some of the posts on this blog. My response to her is something I think needs to be stated here.

We are a group of Christian women (our number seems to be growing) who believe that going to college can be a good choice for a Christian woman. We do not believe it is the only choice nor do we believe that everyone has to pursue an education, formal or not, in the same way.

We do hope that we challenge the thinking of those who believe that college is a wrong choice for women and we especially disagree with the voices of those out there who say it is a sin for a young woman to go to college.

From time to time there will be posts that cause me, personally, to strongly disagree, even react. This is a good thing! Not only does it stretch me but also those who read all of us as one pro-college-for-women voice. I hope that we can demonstrate that we are able to sharpen each others’ iron while maintaining our unity about women and college.

From Laura Cereta, 1488:

“Women have been able by nature to be exceptional, but have chosen lesser goals. For some women are concerned with parting their hair correctly, adorning themselves with lovely dresses, or decorating their fingers with pearls or other gems. Others delight in mouthing carefully composed phrases, indulging in dancing, or managing spoiled puppies. Still others wish to gaze at lavish banquet tables, to rest in sleep, or standing in mirrors, to smear their lovely faces. But those in whom a deeper integrity yearns for virtue, restrain from the start their youthful souls, reflect on higher things, harden the body with sobriety and trials, and crub their tongues, open their ears, compose their thoughts in wakeful hours, their minds in contemplation, to letters bonded to righteousness. For knowledge is not given as a gift, but [is gained] with diligence. The free mind, not shirking effort, always soars zealously toward the good, and the desire to know grows ever more wide and deep. It is because of no special holiness, therefore, that we [women] are rewarded by God the Giver with the gift of exceptional talent. Nature has generously lavished its gifts upon all people, opening to all the doors of choice through which reason sends envoys to the will, from which they learn to convey its desires. The will must choose to exercise the gift of reason.

“[But] where we [women] should be forceful we are [too often] devious; where we should be confident we are insecure. [Even worse], we are content with our condition.”

Due to some recent confusion raising the questions, “Who has got a college girl?” and “Is this blog promoting the shameful practice of going to college in order to earn an MRS. degree?” We give you, the college-girl readership, sidebarrage answering such questions and, hopefully, giving a more noble explanation than many of you might expect.

edited to say, note the revised side-bar.

thanks for the input, girls!

I discovered this quote tonight and thought it belonged here. It came from an interesting website called www.patriarchy.org. I have been pleasantly surprised by the content on this site. This was written by Andrew Sandelin.

Apron-Centered, Kitchen-Table Tutelage
The authority that some patriarchalists arrogate to themselves truly borders on tyranny. One has written that a father who sends his daughter off to college is guilty of irresponsibility. Apparently, all daughters must maintain residence in their father’s household to be deemed “under authority.” Not a shred of Biblical evidence supports this theory and, in fact, at times the father may be guilty of irresponsibility if he does not dispatch an intellectually gifted daughter to college. (The idea that children should ordinarily stay home and take Internet college courses is fraught with peril. We will never train culture-reclaiming physicians, nuclear physicists, and engineers by such apron-centered, kitchen-table tutelage.)

Obsequious Sons
Patriarchalists sometimes do even a greater disservice to sons. In ancient, clan-based societies, a son (even one in his thirties and forties) would remain obsequiously apprenticed to his father and would become the new, blood-based patriarch only when his father died. This is a pagan idea, not a Biblical one, even though some patriarchalists today demand almost unswerving obedience and servanthood from their forty-year old married sons. Sometimes in the process they completely trample on their sons’ obvious gifts, which could be used most profitably elsewhere. Any daughter-in-law that that permits such an outrage will suffer greatly for it.

You can read the entire article here.

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