got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Educated Wife and Mother (Mollie)

Occasionally I will stumble across the uninformed person who poses the question,"Why did you spend so much time and money to earn a master's degree when you were 'just' going to be a stay at home mom?" Perhaps it is unfair to consider the askers of such questions to be uninformed. But I can only wonder what it is that they believe is so mundane about homekeeping and mothering that only something like docile idiocy is required in order to pursue such a career. Interestingly, most of the people who have posed such questions to me are firm believers that women should be firmly planted in the home and not whoring about in the
secular workplace. They value motherhood and wifeliness. In fact, the mothers in such homes are homeschooling their children, educating the next generation, attempting to produce fruitful, successful, well-adjusted adults along the way. And yet their attitudes about educating women formally (as opposed to an informal apprenticeship) are astonishingly anti-woman. Many of them believe their wives are intelligent and capable and yet they highly disapprove of women attending college, of women honing their natural intelligence. I'm sure there are many reasons for such beliefs, perhaps one of the lowest being a fear in such men that their wives and/or daughters will surpass them intellectually. Shame on them! Perhaps our resident historian should give us a psychological analysis of men with such thinking! ::poking C with stick::

In all sincerity I must ask: why should wives and mothers and homeschool educators not be educated so that their God-given talents, brains, abilities and gifts be the very best that they can possibly be? Why should these gifts be squandered? Should the woman who believes that her "place" is in the home be any less educated than a woman who works at a paying job? Why should such a woman *not* pursue college, just because she will be washing dishes, changing diapers and sorting laundry on a daily basis for years to come?

I don't know that I want to defend the expense, from money to time, that it took to earn my degrees. I don't really think a justification is necessary from my side of the issue. I've yet to hear a satisfying justification as to why women do not need to be educated. Until then I have to say that all women would benefit from a formal education, that most women should seriously consider and attend college, and that those who choose not to pursue college need to be making educated, defendable choices.


  • At 4:54 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…


    Your education was worth every single penny and then some!

  • At 2:46 PM, Blogger Camille said…

    Well, I can't help but think that there's some misogyny or at least gynophobia lurking in those arguments. ::wagging my finger::

    I should go look up my favorite early feminists and see why they passionately argued for a woman's education.

    I know Plato did!!

    What gets me though is the ultimate purpose of education? Must it have a monetary return? Must it be a quantified return? Can benefitting the receiver alone be enough?

  • At 8:46 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    Arghhhh! That attitude just "burns me up". It never even occurred to me that a college education wasn't in my future, though I knew motherhood was as well.

    I think there is no way that the benefit of an education *coul* be limited to the recipient alone, just my opinion. ;)

  • At 3:50 PM, Blogger She with Degree-Schmegree said…

    I was my high school's valedictorian my graduating year, aced the SAT's (which signifies next to nothing), and continued my formal education in a supposedly rigorous college. I'm now a wife and mother who is not opposed to girls attending college.

    You stated, "They highly disapprove of women attending college, of women honing their natural intelligence." I believe your sentence construction presents a false equation. I could have honed my natural intelligence more through discussion with thoughtful and critically minded people, supplemented by study of the bottomless well of excellent writing, than I ever did at college. Most "honing of mind" that I've ever enjoyed occurred through the aforementioned means and not through college itself.

    So few colleges are even worth attending. When elementary grammar and punctuation must, of necessity, be taught in freshmen writing classes, one should be wary of touting them as the best way for a woman to enrich her mind.

  • At 8:32 PM, Blogger Camille said…

    Hmph. I learned in college that the strongest argument is one that appeals to ethos -- the credibility and reputation of the speaker. ::think, think:: Hard to do when you don't have any identity. . . .

    Think we still teach that in Freshman English even!

  • At 5:32 AM, Blogger greenemama said…


    this blog does not allow anonymous comments. those who choose to post anonymously anyway will henceforth be ignored.

  • At 5:00 PM, Blogger She with Degree-Schmegree said…

    Please ignore the following:

    As I wrote, I am not against formal education for girls; my criticism is that the majority of Christian colleges are simply Christian-tinged replicas of their secular counterparts and are based on the same weak educational model developed through the courtesy and shady motives of one Horace Mann. They provide the perfect continuation of the learning that occurs in most high schools, whether Christian or public, but that learning is not as deep or even as lasting as it should be. Extolling the education one receives at college as the best education available does not acknowledge the fact that they are not the bastions of learning that they should be (and used to be in the past). They have stooped to the current level of their students; again, as a former educator, I realize this is partly of necessity, but if a student has already established a lively intellectual life bolstered by critical thought before reaching college (as should be fostered from the earliest moments of education), the lack is evident.

    Please note-- while ignoring me, of course-- that I do not deny that learning can and does take place in institutions of higher learning, much of it outside of the classroom, but that the learning is not on the level that it should be for young adults.

    Lastly, you would all agree that college is not the caboose of learning. Ideally, one should seek knowledge and, more importantly, godly wisdom, until Death comes a'knockin'. If college was the catalyst for you to continue this search, three cheers. I still maintain, however, that a typical college-- say, BJU --does not whet the mind as keenly as this blog seems to hold forth.

    And have no concern for further nippings. I'll stop visiting until the maybe-moment when I have my own blog, replete with a breathing biography and lengthy list of credentials, so that my words will not be lost in the wind of disregard. :)

  • At 10:50 PM, Blogger Allison said…

    I have a question: why does the to-be-ignored poster assume it must be a Christian college that the woman attends?

    I've heard and agree with the arguments for Christian-based grammar and secondary instruction, but I'm curious as to why it must be assumed to be the only option for higher ed. Admittedly, now that I've learned about some excellent classically influenced Christian colleges, I would deem those the best possible option. But I don't think it's the only one.

    Though I attended a church-affiliated undergraduate institution, it certainly wasn't what I would consider conservatively Christian, though I learned more about the depths of the faith, the five solas, and semper reformanda than I did all the years leading up to it. I was challenged in ecumenical Bible studies which helped me articulate my faith.

    Now, at a large public urban university, I've learned more about ethos, logos, well-constructed arguments, and Christian-based literary interpretations (mostly of Shakespeare) than I ever did as an undergrad!

    I just think a well-prepared student could thrive at a non-Christian academic institution of excellence, if factors such as affordability are in question for the family.

  • At 5:57 AM, Blogger Jeannette said…

    Colleges worth attendindg? I think a lot of what one gets out of one's higher education is what one puts into it. part of higher education is learning how to be a grownup with respect to one's learning. yea, there are schools and better schools, but at the same timeif one doesn't take respnsibility for her own education, not even the better school will matter.

    but, back to the original post about "just" being a wife/mom. i think part of that sentiment comes out of how our country generally views the purpose for education: job training. it doesn't occur to some people that i might be in school because i LIKE the subject.


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