Degreed, but only rarely pregnant...

(Tim) Over at ClearNote Blog, my number two daughter, Michal Louise Crum, has people gasping for breath with her modest proposal that a college education isn't a prerequisite for godliness or contentment. Poor benighted Michal, barefoot but not pregnant. The most intense hissy fits are over at the bump: the inside scoop on pregnancy. Take a gander.

Comments

I see a lot of the women who've read this piece are very angry. I must admit, I got very angry too, but only because I feel I was conned into persuing a degree and developing myself in any and every way except what which will serve me as a wife and mother.

I saw one commentor said she had to spend the first year of marriage reading cookbooks. Sounds a lot like me. Where do we learn this stuff when our own mothers (and of course all of culture) are brainwashing us to ignore "demeaning" activities like cooking and knowing how to deal with a baby.

I guess some are fortunate to have good upbringings but I am the product of a man hating single mom and would be exactly like these women if I had not come to my senses.

Michal,

Methinks you've gored someone's ox!

I have two degrees, have never been pregnant (and never will be), I've never even had a husband. And yet this morning spent in the kitchen was the most peaceful, creative and satisfying time I've had all week (except for women's Bible Study) -- ever so much better than yesteray's successful shopping trip.

Kamilla

I think that many of the people commenting at ClearNotes and the bump missed the focus of Michal's article. I appreciate that she said that young people need to ask those questions first. College, as every part of our life, should be approached with much prayer. God has a purpose for every aspect of our lives. From the comments it seems that many young women think that college is just another experience to have and not necessarily a step of preparation.

Personally, my college degree has helped me to do exactly what I do - missionary wife of 10 children and founder/principal of a Christian school. I am now working on a master's degree. I have been amazed at how well I was prepared as I faced different situations. I know that it has come about this way because I prayed about my college career and let the Lord lead. I say that not to boast, but to encourage other Christians to seek the Lord's leading in every area of life. The blessings are incredible.

I also agree with Michal that college is not always the right choice for every person. As in all things it should be as the Lord leads.

I thank Michal for writing this. It should make us think and pray more, but thinking and praying is something that we don't always like to do.

Sharlene

The thing is, these women can complain about Michal's piece all they want, but the truth is, most of them will or already are mothers and wives. Maybe they're up in arms because their degrees are still so near and dear to them (near meaning TIMEWISE). But what grandmother who takes such joy in her grandchildren and family spends the day so emotionally and mentally attached to the degree she got so many years ago? What is keeping her warm at night- her M.M. diploma? What sort of legacies are framed still-lifes hanging on a wall? I think that they think they're coming from a "neutral" position when they are disputing what Michal wrote. If they are indeed neutral, would it phase them at all to hear someone ask a young lady, "So what are you going to major in when you go to college?" No. Because that's the "norm" in our society (not necessarily neutral). Would they be flabbergasted if someone was talking to an 18-year old woman about the possibility of marriage and children? Yes.

I remember my own mother having a conversation with two of my aunts (career women--and most of their children are a mess), who often looked down on my mom for being an uneducated, stay-at-home mother of five. I was a young teenager at the time, and they asked of her, "So, what are Rebecca's plans after high school?" My mom said that she wasn't sure. Maybe I'd go to college, maybe go straight to a job, or get married and have a family. You would've thought by their reaction that my mother suddenly had grown another head. "What?! She HAS to go to college! If she doesn't, she'll be NOTHING." Of course, that really hurt Mom, who was, in their eyes, "nothing."

We were at a family wedding a few years ago, and at the reception, all the nuclear families had their own, round table. I looked over at the aunts that were involved in the prior scenario. One of their tables was virtually empty. They had one grandchild (whom they had to take care of, because their son is a drug addict) sitting with them. The other table, only one of the three children were present. At our table sat my mom, dad, four of my siblings, spouses, my husband, and young son. I went over to my mom and whispered in her ear: "Look at how FULL your table is, Mom."

Laughing with delight, Rebecca. Their children arise and call them blessed.

Love,

Tonight our church teens were doing pro-life outreach on the Indiana University campus, one woman said that one of her top three goals (and her mother's best love) was getting a degree. It was suggested maybe the mothers best love should be her children.

As far as using a college education to be a missionary - the crippling debt of college has ensured my wife and I could never be missionaries, good thing we're not called to it - or did our debt cause us to decide we're not?

Hmm...

Has anyone ever noticed how intellecutally week feminists are? Just take a look at that discussion thread - one almost threw up in her mouth, another had to stop reading Michal's post was so distressing, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I didn't pay attention to how many of them said they had college degrees - but if that's the sort of intellecutal fortitude the opposition produces, I'd say a woman's best bet is to *not* attend university!

Kamilla

Michal's message is important because it takes a lot of courage to break out from being a lemming who blindly funnels through the American education system, acquiring debt and little else. Women need encouragement that they can be intelligent, creative, hard-working, and well-educated, often without an expensive education.

Leslie,

IMHO what you are saying is definitely true.

But higher education need not always be expensive. Our local community college charges $79/quarter credit hour. Tuition & fees are about $3500/year for a student attending 3 quarters/year. Many majors prepare you for careers paying $30,000-$50,000 after 2 years of study. Living at home drops the cost even more.

Some programs that could provide a decent income for a woman before she marries (if that's God's plan), serve useful to a mother and/or lend themselves to working from home/part-time are early childhood education, medical assisting, registered nursing, dietetic technician, medical coding, graphic design, sports and exercise science...

Associate of arts/associate of science degrees that transfer to state universities to earn a 4-year degree in a liberal arts field are also offered.

There are also transfer agreements with some state universities to accept all/most credits from an A.S. degree toward a related B.S. degree.

My .02 on making post-secondary education less expensive and more useful to young women.

Sue,

Those are exactly the type of options I want to encourage young women to explore. When I graduated from high school, I would have rather died than attend our local community college. I was far too proud. Unfortunately, many of us reserve community college and other wise alternatives to a 4-year degree from a university for those with bad grades or low intelligence. In other words, community college is only for those who wouldn't make it in the university. Let's change that perception.

Sue and Micah,

I agree completely. I will be happy for my girls to attend community college while living at home, as long as they are studying something that they will use for what they are passionately wanting to become: wives and mothers.

My wife and I both have college degrees, but I must admit that we're finally becoming educated as we take on the wonderful task of homeschooling our kids. It's amazing how the government schools we attended simply decided to ignore teaching the things that really educate a man--it's like somehow the government isn't interested in well educated citizens.

Yup, sounds about right.

This year marked a big change in our household when we decided to send our children to public school after having home educated them to this point. (our children are in grades 5,7,10 and a freshman in college) One element that I haven't seen addressed in this discussion is the fact that your child is in submission to whoever is his teacher in the classroom, whether in college or earlier. That fact has necessitated much discussion in our home regarding submitting to authority...even when that authority is unreasonable. (and doesn't EVERYONE who is under authority think that at one point or another, whether it is particularly true in that instance or not?) The fact is, for the most part, college is the great "faith killer." Even conservative, "Christian" colleges have wolves who freely roam about. It should be viewed with eyes wide open.

Our son, who is in college, is living with us. I believe God has used that to protect him, as well as to actually grow our relationship with him as my husband continues to shepherd him into manhood. We have been blessed with a situation that greatly reduces our costs for college, so the issue of debt is not as pressing for us. However, as our two teenaged daughters approach college age, we have told them that, although we are not opposed to them going, (provided they can still live with us, if possible) we would be quite happy for them to remain with us until such a time as God sees fit to bring them Godly husbands. I would love to have an extended time with them to train them further in the arts of becoming a Proverbs 31 woman...not emphasizing the long list of things she does, but driving home the point of verses 10-12, "An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." Those days include today, when they don't even know if they will marry, let alone who they will marry. THAT is the education our young women need the most.

Marta:

I'm sure you and I differ on this subject, but if one of your teen girls graduates from high school and lives with you and attends community college, or another type of higher education, why can't you teach her the arts of becoming a Proverbs 31 woman while she is in college? And after she graduates, couldn't she live with you and get a job in her field of study (assuming that's possible)? If nothing else, your daughter(s) should be able to save up a considerable amount of money to could bring into a marriage some day, as well as knowing she can support herself if she chooses to live on her own or with a roommate, and to supplement the family income if her husband loses his job, is seriously ill or injured, or tragically, dies at a young age.

For that reason, I'm a firm believer that women who earn degrees from a community college or other school in a major that requires licensing, registration, certification, etc. should keep their credentials current even if they aren't practicing in their field right now. And it can't hurt to work just a few hours a week, too, to keep skills sharp.

I understand that you may not agree and that this shows lack of trust in God. My opinion is that none of the above is inherently sinful and that he expects us to use the brains he's given us. However, I do see the issue as one that good Christians may have not all agree on.

--Sue

Sue,
While is may not be "inherently sinful" for a woman to go to college, get a degree, and get a job, there are some inherently sinful traits common to being a woman. As I said, we are not opposed to our daughters going to college, under strict circumstances, but we and they MUST have our eyes open to all of the results of such a decision.

God knows our sinful hearts much better than we do. (Gen. 8:21, I Sam. 16:7, Jer. 17:9, Heb. 4:12) God also knows the specific sinful tendencies of women better than we ourselves do. I, as a woman, must be told by God over and over to submit to my husband. (Eph. 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5, I Pet. 3:1-6) I must listen to the instruction of my husband because as a woman, I am more easily deceived. (I Cor. 14:34-36, I Tim. 2:8-15) No, I don't like this...but that doesn't matter. Truth is outside of me and it remains truth whether I choose to believe it or not.

You may be asking what this has to do with sending our daughters to college. Here's my .02 on that...

We, as a society, are so quick to shove our daughters out of our homes once they turn 18, whether by sending them off many miles away to school or by telling them to get an apartment. Many times, we are left bearing the burden of paying their expenses while they live in a responsibility-free/reality-free bubble of no consequence. We tell them that these experiences are necessary to figuring out how to be independent, while all the time trying to shelter them from the results of their catastrophes. They rack up a huge debt getting a degree that many times will be of no use to them in the future, all the while exposing themselves up to various temptations for which they have had no preparation, save for a cursory, "You'd better not get pregnant while you're at school, or you won't get any more money!"

Now you may poo-poo this scenario, but I guarantee you it happens more times than not. We salve our consciences by saying that we are ensuring they are ready should the unthinkable happen...no husband or early widowhood. But tell me...what is the wisdom in devoting your life for the exception? MOST women get married. MOST women are not early widows. Yes, we all know those who fit into either category, but they are the exceptions. And should either one of those things be true, shouldn't the woman's family, and if they are incapable or unwilling, the church, be a haven for them? You may object and talk about the divorce rate. While that is true, I ask you to consider how much of the divorce rate is due to a woman working? How many working women grow to disrespect their husbands? Grow unsatisfied with him? Are divided and conflicted between pleasing their husbands and pleasing their bosses, which many times are men? There is a reason why God encourages women to be keepers of the home. (Prov. 7:10-11, Prov. 31:10-31, I Tim. 5:14, Titus 2:3-5) It's not because we need to be cloistered lest we be besmirched by the world, but it's because we need to be honest about what our sinful tendencies are and do everything we can to starve them. If we are serious about wanting our daughters to be Godly women, then we must undertake the hard work of actually training them to be such.

This whole post doesn't even address the aspects of college that are faith-killers, nor does it address the fact that not everyone - male as well as female - is suited to college. I think this is long enough for now, though.

Marta,

You may never read this post because the sidebar has been removed from this blog but I did want to respond to you anyway and can't send a message to your website or blog because you don't have one linked to your name. I also wasn't able to respond earlier because I'm a full-time college student in a local community college and my classes are pretty tough this quarter.

First of all, I submit to my husband as you do. Most of the time it is not difficult because we are generally able to come to an agreement or a compromise with each other. Other than some minor matters, I can't think of more than 6-8 times when we couldn't come to an agreement and I had to submit to his decision over nearly 24 years of marriage.

Second, I agree with you 100% that some women and men are just not cut out for either community college or a 4-year university, and may be better off taking a vocational track in high school and preparing for the careers they offer there, joining the military, or getting a job that only requires a H.S. education.

In an earlier post in this thread, I mentioned several community college majors that could provide a young woman a decent income until she marries and skills that will help her as a young mother and/or allow her to work from home part-time if need be. I can't remember all of them now but some were early childhood education, registered nursing, dietetic technician, medical assisting, medical coding...

I can go one way or the other on living in a dorm or apartment while in school or working. I see your point about a typical university environment (I went to the University of Wisconsin in the 70's a/k/a "Berkeley of the East", but had to spend a lot of time working to be involved in too many shenanigans). But I think it depends on the student and the living situation. With like-minded roommates, a good church (assuming they're the same denomination or can find a solid church they all agree to attend) nearby, and a family(ies) (or relatives) that would take them under them under their wing, it might be fine. (What a ministry for the right families!) Or even a halfway in, halfway out situation for a young woman, like providing full or partial care for an elderly woman while going to school or as a job on its own.

Community colleges (as I'm sure you know) are largely commuter schools, the average age of students is mid to late 20's, many are married, and working another job in additional to school. So they're often more serious that the usually university student. And they are inexpensive to a 4-yr college/university especially if the student lives at home. It won't break the bank and there are generous tax credits right now. If I hadn't already had a B.S. degree, we would have received a $2,000 credit on our federal income taxes this year for my school expenses last year.

At the college I attend, they say a student taking 3 full-time quarters per year pays about $3500/year in tuition and fees. Books are extra, of course, but I usually spend about $250/quarter by buying used whenever I can online or through Craig's List.

I just wanted to let you that I wasn't unsympathetic to your concerns, even when I didn't agree with all of them, and hope I offered some constructive ideas for you think about.

Love in Christ,

Sue

Sue,

I agree that the removal of the sidebar has been a bit frustrating. I'd been checking every so often, just in case, but Tim was kind enough to send me a note that you had responded. No, I don't have a blog or a website because 1. I don't think I have that much to say about things, (ignore the length of this post!) 2. even though I'm a stay-at-home mom, I don't have time to keep up with it, and 3. it feeds my pride too much. Even commenting on here must be tempered in my heart with much prayer and usually repeated repentance because I want the glory for "MY" wisdom instead of pointing people to God. Believe me, my wisdom is stupidity!

Now, with that preface, here goes! :)

I appreciate what you said about trying to do college in a fiscally responsible way. I agree that many people fall for the name of the school and end up becoming a slave to the debt they incur while attending such an expensive place. That in itself is a reason why so many women must work outside of the home...to pay for the degree that cost so much. (which many times, they can't or don't even use to pay for itself!)

I don't believe it's a sin to work outside of the home. What I do see as sin is a lot of the reasoning behind why: a lack of self-control regarding money...either wanting things or a certain station in life, a desire to "use the brain God gave me"...which is code for wanting the praise of men and desiring glory that only belongs to God, a lack of contentment in the role of wife and mother in the home, and on and on. I know these things - I have struggled with all of them over the years. (I'll be 40 this year) There are also the pressures and expectations from our culture, friends, and families that are contrary to what God has designed for us. Additionally, our own hearts do not want to submit to God's plan. When I read Titus 2:4-5, "that they (older women) may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored." it is a hard pill to swallow sometimes. But then I remember that my Creator knows so much better than I do what is for my good.

God has mercifully been teaching me the beauty of becoming "invisible." (which is funny because here I am on this very visible blog...) My pride wants others to see how smart I am, how efficient, how hard I work. Essentially, my heart wants the praise of people. I also desire the glory that belongs to God for the gifts that He has given me. How twisted is that?

What's interesting, though, is that the more I've been repenting of that lately, and actively working to put it to death, the more praise and appreciation I've been getting from my husband! So counter-intuitive! I have joy at home and oneness with my husband that is new...after almost 20 years of marriage! God has graciously shown me what submission truly means (I thought I knew before). I am actually a stronger woman now because I know my purpose and limits - I can concentrate on those things and stop worrying about things that are not my responsibility. My husband makes a much better man than I do! :) We are actually on the same team pulling in the same direction. It has also made I Peter 3:1-6 come alive in a way it never had before. The fact that I, as a woman, can have something that is precious in the sight of God - "the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit" - incredible! God really DOES want our good...whether we can see what it is or not. We must trust Him on this!

I realize that not every family is like ours. I do think that we as Christians need to take God's Word more seriously than we tend to. It is as relevant for husbands and wives today as it was when it was written. There are things for our protection as women that our hearts don't like, but God knows us so much better than we know ourselves.

Okay...I must stop for now!

Love,

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