Speaking at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island last week, President Obama made a statement in the context of equal pay for women, that many stay at home mothers have taken offense to. This author is one of those women. In fairness to President Obama, the statements addressed in this article are only a small segment of his speech, and could be considered to be taken out of context. As with everything, it is best to read his full remarks before you pass your own judgment. By way of explanation preceding my stated opinion, the President does not step into speaking assignments to just “wing it.” He goes in prepared with a written speech. Previous to his presentations, he is able to review his speech and make changes to statements that he thinks may be misunderstood. President Obama could have edited the controversial section out of his speech, but he chose to leave it in. This is my reason for understanding it the way I do.
“Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make,” President Obama said. “So let’s make this happen: By the end of this decade, let’s enroll 6 million children in high-quality preschool, and let’s make sure that we are making America stronger.” This statement is in stark contrast to statements of many international leaders throughout time. It was Confucius who said, “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” Shouldn’t we, as a nation, be focusing on making our homes and families stronger rather than working to take children out of the home at earlier and earlier ages?
Turning our children over to the government to raise them is a socialistic view that will eventually dissolve the strength of the family unit. I recognize that there are many ways to parent children and that my way may not be your way. But President Obama’s wanting to take a choice away (“… that’s not a choice we want Americans to make…”) in regards to parenting is frightening. I chose to be a mother. Due to infertility, I was not able to control how or when those children came to me, but I am grateful that I have been able to choose how to parent them. My choice is to be the one who raises my children. “No other success can compensate for failure in the home,” (David O. McKay) is a phrase that rings true to me.
Instead of the government’s spending money to “enroll 6 million children in high-quality preschool,” let’s consider that there may be significantly better ways to help America’s children. If our leaders are in need of ideas, here are 3 suggestions:
1. Increased adoption tax credit. And let’s make it refundable again. Let’s focus some of our resources on children in America’s foster care system finding their forever families, and make that happen more affordably.
2. Put that money into our current educational system, allowing the states to use bonus and merit increases to encourage better teaching.
3. Support home schooling, by giving the money to the states to support stay-at-home parents who are home schooling their children.
And by the way, where is all this money coming from anyway? If the money must be spent, let’s get the federal government out of it and allow the states to govern themselves.
Let’s remember that “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” (William Ross Wallace, 1865) And C.S. Lewis well said, “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”
Watch the clip below.