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Monday, December 5, 2011

Getting an Education

Dear Bro Jo,

I am going to college in January at BYU-I. I am thrilled and excited to keep preparing for future life. My mom is opposed to college and getting a job/having a career for girls.

So that's an issue between us. We're talking it out, but something she said today made me think. I mentioned how cool it would be to have a few thousand saved to present my husband someday and say, "here's something for a bed/dining table etc." My mom said that that is disrespecting the man as the head of the home. He should be providing for me. This seems a little bogus. I think I'd be grateful if someone gave me some money to help out. Aren't men and women equal? Are men wired differently and this would really make him feel bad?


Future Homemaker

Dear FH,

There must be some breakdown in communication between you and your mother.

Yeah, men and women are wired differently (mostly), and yes, men are usually (though not always) better at providing than they are at nurturing. That shouldn't surprise anyone. (See The Proclaimation on the Family.)

But the attitude that women shouldn't go to college or be able to support themselves financially is ridiculous. What if you don't meet someone? What if something happens to your husband or your marriage?

Surely you must have misunderstood your mother and what she was trying to say.

[Bro Jo Tangent: Let me make one thing perfectly clear to you and anyone else who might read this: while Sister Jo may be first and foremost a "homemaker", the monetary value of what she does for our family, a list too long to mention, is far greater than any paychecks I've ever brought home. In many ways she "provides" much more than I ever could.]

When you get married, if you and your spouse truly understand how a good marriage is supposed to work, all assets and liabilities become common, meaning that you're in this thing together, better or worse, richer or poorer.

Hopefully neither of you will bring much debt to the table, and you'll both be grateful for (and respectful of) whatever assets the other brings (financial or otherwise) to the marriage.

When you and your spouse begin to have children I hope you'll heed prophetic counsel and make sure that one of you is always home for your children, forgoing worldly things in favor of raising your own kids. History and experience tells us you'll be much better at that than he will.

And that's why, in the principle of sharing the responsibilities and work, he should be expected to work outside the home and provide the money your household needs.

Equal in responsibility. Equal pay for the same work. That's what "equal" means.

Go to school. Get your education. Be prepared should you need to provide for yourself or your family financially.

And be a little less quick to disagree with your mother. Listen to what she's trying to teach you instead of being so quick to be argumentative.

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

Here's how I see it: There are a lot of good, worthwhile reasons for a woman to go to college. There are a lot less worthwhile, good reasons NOT to go to college.

Not only is it important to be prepared to be independent, being educated can make you a better, more compassionate person. If you don't find someone to marry, you should have the opportunity to find a career you believe is interesting and worthwhile. Not to mention that college tends to be the place you meet someone to get married.

Point out all the prophetic counsel that is given on women getting an education.

DerSchwarzhund said...

She might be worried that you'll put education at a higher priority than marriage, and if given the choice you'd take education.

Side note, though. I, and a lot of other guys, would rather marry a girl who valued education. Not that I wouldn't marry a girl if she didn't attend college, but I would rather she did, much like a mission is a huge plus for men, but shouldn't be an outright requirement. Any guy who doesn't want an educated woman, doesn't want an equal; he wants someone he can consider himself above. If a guy doesn't want the lady in his life to be educated, he doesn't respect her intellectually, and will never respect her opinion.

Anonymous said...

My former laurel's adviser told me how she saved up money from age 10 for her future, never spent a penny of it - she was lucky enough to have parents who were willing to pay for most of her things, even through college (which she worked to get scholarships for), and she worked part-time jobs as a teenager. She met and married her husband in college, and because she had saved up money ($9000 by the time they used it, plus money that he saved as well), they were able to make a down payment on a home where they began to raise their family. Her husband completed his masters, and now works and makes the family's [very decent] income while she is a stay-at-home mom with many young kids now, and they have a happy healthy marriage, and a very secure financial plan.
Because she was raised to be smart financially and was able to contribute to their living expenses from the beginning of their marriage, this family does not struggle with debt nearly as much as many people in today's economy do.

Anonymous said...

This is my post! I never replied, Bro Jo, sorry.
Anyway, thanks for the comments, guys. My mom completed her Bachelors and my dad his Masters. We have a large family and live debt-free except for our house.

Bro Jo, my mom and I were having communication issues when I wrote you. Now we understand each other, and she is supporting my decision to attend college. I intend to homeschool my children as she has homeschooled us, and so I'm going to get the best education I can. There's always something to learn. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm LDS and I come from a single-mother household. Therefore, I testify (don't just believe) that women should work & be a homemaker. My mother went back to school to get a degree in nursing. So for 5 year she was a FULL TIME mother-student-worker. I was always given the quality and quantity of love every daughter deserves and needs. She never dated anyone, as to prevent confusion and anxiety.

If a woman goes to college, she ought to implement the secular knowledge in the work force AND household. She'll not only help her family, but society as a whole. Now, this secular knowledge goes hand in hand with spiritual knowledge. It gives you a deeper more comprehensive interpretation of the gospel.

Anonymous said...

SHOULD work? A wife and mother, if she has an education SHOULD work? No. She shouldn't unless she HAS to in order to support her family. If her husband can work to support the family, he should do it. Children need a full-time parent at home. Obviously, a single mom simply does not have that option. (And it sounds like your mom was amazing!) But I'm thinking that your post refers to moms, not just married women before they have children. It simply isn't correct doctrine to say that women should help earn money to support their family in order to have a "deeper more comprehensive interpretation of the gospel." There are plenty of ways a woman can gain that understanding withOUT working outside the home. (Disclaimer: I'm a stay-at-home mom, who has been so before and AFTER earning her college degree.)