Admittedly, I have been watching Mona Lisa Smile.

There is a scene in which Julia Roberts’s character is lecturing her class, challenging them to see that women in the fifties could have more options than being a wife and mother. She closes by saying, “I didn’t realize that by demanding excellence I was ‘challenging the roles you were born to fill.'”

I must start by saying that I honestly believe that mothering and domesticity are very noble, honorable, and difficult careers. Does college challenge that? Does domesticity somehow feel intimidated by college? Will the choice to attend college somehow make one a less apt mother or homemaker? It seems that some believe that if my mind is well-educated, I will not focus on mothering as my primary ministry. If I have devoted part of my life to study and academia, somehow I cannot devote myself fully to being a wife and mother later.

What is it that is intimidating about the demand for excellence? I do not believe that my continued attempt to seek education has harmed my primary focus. I do not believe that by stretching my mind and learning to think in new ways I have somehow deviated from the path that God designed for me. In fact, I believe that by stretching, learning, and educating I am bettering myself for service in His Kingdom. And while I certainly don’t believe that a college degree is what makes a good mother, wife, or woman, I do believe that it can be a VERY significant contribution.