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Woman’s Work, Second Class?

Christianity Today managing editor Katelyn Beaty thinks God wants women working outside the home, and no, being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t count [1]:

“I’m wanting to tell wives and mothers that there is so much inherent goodness in the call to work and that we needn’t pit certain types of roles against each other,” Beaty said. “There are ways to be a devoted wife and mother and a devoted CEO. In the church, we need to make space for women who feel called to both at the same time.”

She’s 31, no kids, and has never been married. More:

“All women are called to have influence—cultural influence outside of the private sphere of the home,” Beaty said. “It wouldn’t necessarily have to be a career track, but certainly all Christians, including all Christian women, are called to have cultural influence outside the home.”

This begs a question: What about stay-at-home moms? While Beaty said she wants to affirm the value of the labor of motherhood, she considers it a separate category. While she isn’t willing to call full-time mothering “sinful,” she encourages women with children to assess their talents and put those to use outside of their households.

“When you talk about scales of influence or scales of societal influence, a woman who is staying at home with [her] children isn’t going to have as much influence on the direction of culture,” Beaty said. “We can talk about motherhood as a specific type of calling, but I’m not ready to professionalize it.”

Read the whole thing. [1]

Well, I probably should just sit back and watch Erin Manning handle this one. But as the husband of a stay-at-home mom who homeschools our kids and manages our family’s business, I will say with as much restraint as I can manage that what Katelyn Beaty doesn’t know about motherhood, family life, and what matters is a lot.

Look, I agree with her that the workplace ought to be more friendly to working moms. And it is definitely the case that not all women are cut out to be homeschoolers, or stay-at-home moms. What I strongly object to is the idea that a woman whose work is solely in the home is somehow a second-class worker, because her work doesn’t “influence the direction of the culture.”

Really? Who says? And besides, what kind of value system holds “influencing the direction of the culture” as more important than raising, nurturing, and forming the hearts, minds, and souls of one’s children? It’s not sentimentality when I say that my wife has a more important job than I do. I don’t mean to put my job down. She couldn’t do what she does with the kids if I didn’t make enough money on my own to support us. Most people don’t have that kind of privilege, and we are grateful for it. We work as a team with the mission of raising our children. One flesh, as they say.

Any good that I’ve done “influencing the direction of the culture” is in large part thanks to what my own mother and father gave me. Daddy was a health inspector, and Mama drove a school bus. They raised a journalist and a teacher. If Ruthie were still here, I know she would credit the raising we had at home with the good she was able to do in the classroom. My mother did more to affect the culture by the way she brought us up than she did by driving a school bus, for heaven’s sake.

What a weird metric for judging the worth of a woman’s vocation, or a man’s vocation, for that matter: “influencing the direction of the culture.” Who thinks like that? Beaty and I are lucky in that as journalists, we have more cultural influence than many people, but the hidden bias in her statement is that people who have minimal cultural influence — electricians, Wal-mart checkout clerks, lawn care guys — are somehow less valuable to the Kingdom because they are in vocations that lack cultural impact.

I wonder if this is an ecclesiology thing. I see us all connected in a web of purpose, usually hidden from ourselves. I get so many nice e-mails from people almost every day thanking me for what my work has meant to them in their daily lives. I’m so grateful for that, and it makes me think about how my work would not be possible if not for a constellation of people — first of all my wife, but also my pastor, my friends, many others — who do the same thing for me. Cultural impact? Whose work do you think matters more in the sight of God: the culturally-impactful Kim Kardashian’s, or the anonymous man who cleans the floors at a nearby college after coming home from his days job, having supper, and putting his kids to bed — this, so he can support his boys?

(That man — Amos Pierce — raised a son who became a famous and enormously talented actor [2]. Such was his cultural impact, even though he worked in a department store by day, and scrubbed floors at night.)

What a trite and blinkered way to measure the worth of a woman’s labor. I’m pretty sure that my views on marriage and work are more egalitarian than Owen Strachan’s, but I agree with this remark he made to Jonathan Merritt, who wrote The Atlantic piece on Beaty:

What shapes culture? People shape culture. How are people themselves shaped? They are shaped at least in part by mothers. If you want to influence culture in a very serious way in the future, one of the best things you can do is build the world’s first institution, the natural family, and launch children, who love God and neighbor.

Amen. And, I would add to fathers, don’t sacrifice your family for your career. This is something I’ve got to do better on in my life. But think about it: which is more God-honoring — to be a CEO, or to have a much lesser job in the eyes of the world, but to be there for your kids in a way you couldn’t be if you were the CEO?

One of the big lessons of The Little Way of Ruthie Leming [3]is the hidden worth of people who do the job God gave them to give, no matter how small in the eyes of the world. I knew that there was nothing at all wrong with being a small-town teacher, but what I didn’t know until after my sister had died, and I started to people whose lives she touched and changed, what a powerful influence for the good she was. We just never know. St. Benedict didn’t set out to change the world. He just wanted to get to a place where he could be still and serve out his calling. And the little book he wrote, and the movement that arose from it, ended up saving Europe, pretty much.

Again: you never know.

Our kids are getting older, and all three will be starting classes this fall in a classical Christian school that works on the hybrid classroom/homeschool model. I’m proud to say that my wife will be teaching classes there this fall. She’s very good at this — she did it in Philly — and I’m thrilled that she will once again be able to share her gifts with others, and that we are at a place in the life of our family in which she is able to do this.

But boy, does it chap my backside to think about how extremely hard my wife worked to educate all our kids, especially our older son, who has had a world of special-needs challenges that even a Harvard Medical School physician said probably would never be overcome. She — and our son — proved him wrong, and are proving him wrong every damn day. This didn’t just happen; aside from paying the bills, I had very little to do with it. It was her. It was her tireless, active love for that kid, day in and day out, and having to take joy in one small victory amid every five large defeats. It was her resilience, and determination. I’m getting tears in my eyes now thinking about it, and I’m sorry, but I cannot be sanguine when a 31-year-old Millennial woman who has never raised a child assigns second-class status to what Julie and mothers like her have done and do every day, just because they don’t draw a paycheck, don’t have a byline, don’t have a business card, and don’t have followers on Twitter.

Having said that, I like reading Katelyn Beaty’s journalism, and my guess is that she hasn’t thought this issue through. And it is surely true that there are insufferable women (and men) who automatically look down on career women, without taking into consideration that not every woman is called to be a wife, a mother, or a stay-at-home wife and mom. Let us consider too that women who stay at home but who don’t homeschool may well serve their communities in ways that are not easily quantifiable. Case in point: you know who makes the Walker Percy Weekend happen? Stay-at-home moms, mostly, who have time and energy to give back to their community through volunteering for the public good.

Anyway, sorry. Emotional moment there. This comes on an afternoon in which I am manically scrambling to finish a book by deadline and to prepare for teaching writing workshops next week, which means I’ve had to offload the sudden search for housing for our family to Julie, now in Baton Rouge looking, as if she didn’t have enough to do with having to get the family packed by month’s end. If that Benedict Option book has any cultural impact, I want you to know right here and right now that its production has been made possible by the tireless efforts of a hard-working stay-at-home wife whose name does not appear on the cover of any of my books, but whose books they are too.

Now, over to you, Erin Manning…

UPDATE: A mutual friend of mine and Katelyn Beaty’s writes to say that the book is more complex than it may seem from this piece:

I have read Katelyn’s book and she spells out the meaning of cultural impact more there. I think the kind of education work (and community work) Julie does and that the Walker Percy SAHMs do is exactly the kind of cultural impact Katelyn is talking about for SAHMs. In her book, she basically says that women have always worked (in a pre-industrial age–think: Wendell Berry’s idea of home as a place of economy and industry) and that the idea of women obsessed with children alone (mommy-war judgy moms who swear that if you ever leave your kids or make them sleep in a crib or don’t nurse till they’re 3 that you will damage your children) as a profession is a new idea. She says that SAHMs contribute to culture not only with their work at home but with “public” work like volunteering, neighborhood associations, etc.

If that’s true, that puts Beaty’s quotes in this interview in a different light. I’d like to believe that, because I have always liked Beaty’s journalism, and it seemed strange to me that someone with her reputation was so clueless about the work of women in the home. Anybody else read the book and can offer an informed opinion?

UPDATE.2: Reader Hannah Anderson comments:

I read the book and am a SAHM & part-time writer. This Atlantic piece reflects Merritt’s agenda, not Beaty’s. Very unprofessional framing of the book. Beaty challenges the notion that women belong exclusively at home and takes on suburban consumerist mentality while providing robust view of work that includes work of rearing children and working at home.

If I were you, I put the edit at top of post. Atlantic article is not accurate and therefore your response to Beaty may not be completely accurate if based on article alone.

Thanks for this. I keep asking Jonathan Merritt on Twitter (and Katelyn Beaty) if the Atlantic piece Merritt wrote fairly characterized her book and her own point of view. Not getting any answers. I want to correct the record if the piece was unfair.

126 Comments (Open | Close)

126 Comments To "Woman’s Work, Second Class?"

#1 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On July 6, 2016 @ 7:26 pm

“She’s 31, no kids, and has never been married.

Really no reason to read anything after that.”

No offense, but this reminds me of those people who say “Unless you’ve worn a uniform, you have no right to opine on the way our soldiers Defend Your Freedoms (TM).” Jack Nicholson did a great job portraying that sort of idiocy in A Few Good Men. You don’t actually have to have been poor to say insightful things about poverty, you don’t have to be sexually active to say insightful things about sexuality (see, uh, Jane Austen), you don’t have to be a farmer to say insightful things about agriculture, and same goes for childrearing and the military. You just have to be a thoughtful and observant witness to the human condition.

I disagree with Katelyn Beaty. But, I would also disagree with anyone who thinks parenting makes much difference. Twin studies have pretty much demolished the notion that parenting/home environment makes a difference on adult outcomes. Yes, if you provide a child with Romanian orphanage level of deprivation, you will screw them up. Outside of that? No, in modern society the home environment doesn’t change how adults turn out.

That said, does home life matter? Of course. It is an intrinsic good. A happy childhood is a wonderful thing. But does it change the adult who “benefits” from it? No, probably not. So, when one credits a “good mother” for a child’s achievement (and says, “It was her!”,) that is almost certainly wrong. (Similarly, when mother’s were blamed for their children’s schizophrenia, that too was wrong.)

Does this mean a loving mother is unimportant? No, of course not! We can all cherish the memory of a loving mother. But a loving mother does not create a saint, just as an unloving mother does not create a monster.

Oh, man. I was going to say this, but you said it first. +1000 to this, really. Nobody should comment on childrearing, family issues, reproduction, etc., until they’ve internalized the lesson that twin studies tell us: parenting doesn’t much matter.

I have no special brief for or against stay at home moms. I guess if I had to choose a side I’m more with Katelyn Beaty than against her, largely because I find making your family and children the focus of their life to be kind of unhealthy, but I think you have the right to be a stay at home mom if you want. That being said, above a fairly low threshold, we know now that parenting simply doesn’t matter to ultimate outcomes, and you shouldn’t be under the impression that you have a moral obligation to be a Perfect Mom, or anything like that.

#2 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On July 6, 2016 @ 7:41 pm

We’re cogs in the economic machine. I don’t understand people who define themselves by their profession.

I am a man, but my profession is not particularly important to who I am. I pursue my career because it helps me live and support my family. If I could quit today and have a way to live comfortably, I would quit and never look back.

This is really interesting, because it’s so foreign to my way of looking at the world. I actively would not want to live comfortably without working, even if you gave me a lot of money to do so. Partly because I feel it’s immoral to live without working (at least at some level), and partly because I really enjoy and take pride in my work.

I’m in my mid-30s and truthfully, am very happy not to be married or to have children right now. I’d like to have children down the road, but at this stage I really like having the freedom to focus on my job and be the best that I can be at it (as well as the more general personal freedom).

#3 Comment By chris403 On July 6, 2016 @ 7:49 pm

Christianity Today has really gone downhill in quality that last few years. I honestly have to think they have no idea who their readers are these days. Merritt at The Atlantic makes sense. Beaty at CT makes zero sense. Or perhaps it even makes negative sense, because insulting Christians is the job of The Atlantic, not a Christian publication.

I can remember a year or two ago when a “Feminist Christian” blogger at CT praised Margaret Sanger. As the editor, I have to assume Beaty approved that article.

#4 Comment By JonF On July 6, 2016 @ 8:16 pm

Re: I actively would not want to live comfortably without working, even if you gave me a lot of money to do so.

I feel the same way– although if I could afford to do so I would work less than I do (no more than 25 hours a week) and at something where I felt I was making a difference and serving my values (at least in some small way) not someone else’s profit.

#5 Comment By JonF On July 6, 2016 @ 8:20 pm

Re: All of these traits have significant heritability. For example, identical twins have IQ measurements that are the same as measuring the same person twice.

In this, as in so much else, twin studies show a useful correlation– but not the exactness you posit.
Moreover IQ tests produce variable results when given to the same person over the course of a lifetime. Not huge variation, but enough to suggest that the uncertainty factor in these tests is not trivial.

#6 Comment By Intelliwriter On July 6, 2016 @ 11:07 pm

Women also find they may have to set their sights lower in order to raise their children. I was offered high-paying positions that would have required being in the office five days a week. I passed so that I could work from home and be there as a parent. You can’t get that time back and with my youngest in college, I still can’t believe how fast it all went.

But I haven’t a regret in the world. I found that my kids needed me more as teenagers and my being there probably kept my son out of a lot of trouble.

Every family has to decide how best to make it all work. Women (and men) who make the choice to devote themselves to their children are first-class citizens in my book!

#7 Comment By Chris Travers On July 7, 2016 @ 2:07 am


This is really interesting, because it’s so foreign to my way of looking at the world. I actively would not want to live comfortably without working, even if you gave me a lot of money to do so. Partly because I feel it’s immoral to live without working (at least at some level), and partly because I really enjoy and take pride in my work.

To live is to work. But my profession is not important to who I am either. My trade is, but that’s another question.

If I could give up on laboring for the profit of others, I would do so in a heart-beat. I see nothing immoral about that at all.

#8 Comment By Julia Duin On July 7, 2016 @ 3:35 am

I’ve not read Katelyn’s book either but it’s obvious she’s reacting to a Christian culture that sees a woman with a career as totally useless. If you think that’s not going on in most congregations, you’ve not been in church for the past 30 years. The married men get most if not all the board positions, speaking opportunities and places of honor and their wives get to come along for the ride. Single men aren’t in church at all and single women are ignored and not wanted. I am sure Katelyn feels that if she, as ME of Christianity Today doesn’t advocate for working women, no one will.

[NFR: Wait, “not been in church for the past 30 years”? Maybe “not been in an Evangelical church.” I don’t know, because I’ve never been part of an Evangelical church. But that has not been my experience in Catholic and Orthodox churches. Of course our clerical class is patriarchal by design, and people like Beaty, who believe in women’s ordination, object to that. I do believe that there is a problem in Catholic and Orthodox churches of focusing so heavily on the family that unmarried people — gay and straight — get ignored. That’s something we need to work on, for sure. But I strongly object to the insulting judgment Beaty cast on stay-at-home moms in her comments to The Atlantic. If her book is more nuanced than that, well and good. But I was reacting to comments she made in that interview — comments that she did not retract. — RD]

#9 Comment By Giuseppe Scalas On July 7, 2016 @ 8:38 am


Thanks for the video.

Of course genetics play a big role, and behavioral geneticists understandably push it. It’s obvious that twins will have similarities in character, and not only in physical ones. However, there are similarities, but also differences.
I have two uncles who are identical twins, and have been raised as such by their parents (identical clothing, etc…). They are now about 65.
One is a devoted family men, the other one is a womanizer. One likes a quiet life, the other one likes speed cars. One likes indulging in good food and wine and doesn’t care so much about physical fitness, the other one is a gym addict. One is massively involved in charity, the other one couldn’t care less.
They own a small company, but while one of the two likes working there, the other one doesn’t care and prefer enjoying his life as a retiree. Of course, there are also similarities, apart from physical ones: Both are fond of boating and fishing, both are pranksters to the point of being annoying.
If genes were the only thing that counts, they would have the same character and preferences; but this is not the case.
The same if nurture was the only thing that counts.
It’s reasonable to expect that this is a mixture of the two.

And the guy talking in the video, behavioral geneticist Tom Bouchard, says that genetic influence accounts for about 40%-50% of precisely measurable psychological characteristics, which is what one would expect from one’s daily experience with small children, twins, etc… E.g., I agree that many of the main traits in character are apparent since a very early age. I’ve seen this in my daughters.

So, saying that parenting and family environment don’t count seems to me a very long shot. And, by a quick survey of research via google, it doesn’t seem to me as uncontroversial as our Hector would have us to think. On the other hand, children are more resilient than one would think and, if they have character and basic intelligence, two things which are very much influenced by genetics, they are likely to overcome the negative influences of bad parenting

#10 Comment By grumpy realist On July 7, 2016 @ 9:18 am

I think another reason that some of us look askance at “SAHMing” is there’s a certain amount of unnecessary busywork certain upper-middle-class SAHMs end up pushing as being the norm in competition with each other. If you insist that “being a good mom” means you absolutely MUST spend your time making home-made Halloween cupcakes decorated with spiders hand-made with fondant a la Martha Stewart then don’t complain when SAHMing gets a reputation for frivolity.

I also wonder about how much “parenting” gets done where the husband is in one of those professions where he’s expected to work 80-100 hours a week. It seems to me you might as well replace him with a wallet dispensing $100 bills, for all the actual “parenting” he does.

#11 Comment By mrscracker On July 7, 2016 @ 9:30 am

Your grandma sounds a lot like mine. Everything was ironed & mostly handwashed. My great aunt Sadie told me additionally they’d hang linens outside on bushes overnight to bleach them. I guess oxygen released from plants has a bleaching effect?
I still have many handmade, embroidered linens from my grandma. Some have tatting or crocheted edging.
Taking time to do small, everyday things in a caring way makes a difference I think.

#12 Comment By Eric K. On July 7, 2016 @ 12:02 pm

My wife’s comment after reading this blog post, some of the comments, and my suspicions about Merritt: “Merritt achieved exactly what he set out to do.”

Hannah Anderson’s comment confirms my original suspicion. Merritt is attempting to stir up controversy and drive wedges between Christians who would otherwise see eye to eye on most things.This is the MO of his and most writers from Religion News Service. Whenever I read an article from that source I always seek another source to see how accurately they’ve framed things.

I don’t use Twitter, but went to look at the posts there regarding this book. All these people who probably agree on 90% of things are closing ranks and choosing sides. So much snark. This is Merritt’s plan, and orthodox Christians have fallen for it.

[NFR: Yeah, now I regret having been trolled by him. I don’t know his work, but one prominent Christian who does know it e-mailed to say that he is “easily the most dishonest Christian writer I know” — precisely because of stunts like this. Other Christian friends have contacted me to say the same. I didn’t know that. About Beaty, I was prepared to apologize to her for judging her position on Merritt’s misquotes and mischaracterization, so I asked her on Twitter about that, repeatedly. She would not back away from her quotes, or criticize Merritt, even after he admitted on Twitter that he massaged the story to make it more controversial. I think these two want her book to be perceived as edgy, but when they get pushback, they take to the fainting couch. It was completely lame when Merritt said that I had to read Beaty’s book before negatively commenting — as if it were improper to remark on the author’s words in an interview! I dropped off of following it on Twitter when Beaty put up a post alluding to me supposedly being mean to her on social media, and having mental health issues. I don’t know her, but that’s a move that fits the standard stereotype of Millennials going to pieces when they confront something that doesn’t go their way. If that’s how she rolls in the workplace, if she had to deal with the struggles many of these stay-at-home moms who aren’t engaged in the high holy calling of Culture Work contend with, it’s understandable why she would valorize the office over the home. — RD]

#13 Comment By Chris Travers On July 7, 2016 @ 1:09 pm


In my view, that counts as being CEO (or at least COO) too. My wife organizes me too.

#14 Comment By MikeCA On July 7, 2016 @ 2:49 pm

mrscracker,yes it’s the small things that often mean the most. I remember my grandama drying things on the line (and her old fashioned wringer washer!) and how the sheets at her house smelled like the fresh air of the prairie. I suppose in monetary terms my paternal grandparents were poor but they were rich in things that mattered. Married for over 53 yrs my grandmother passed away first and my grandfather less than 6 months later- which while hard on the family was probably a blessing for my grandfather as he was lost without her. We men aren’t as strong as we think.

#15 Comment By skb On July 7, 2016 @ 4:22 pm

Giuseppe Scalas:

Indeed, identical twins are not identical. And, what makes them different is not their home environment. The case of your uncles shows this perfectly.

What makes them different, that 40-60% environmental difference? It is not their home environment, which was the same for both of your uncles. It is their “unshared environment.” This includes everything from developmental noise, their in utero environment, exposure to toxins and pathogens, etc.

Why is this distinction important? What we think of as “nurture” is home environment. But, that has no difference on adult outcomes! In fact, we have no understanding whatsoever how to “nurture” someone to a different adult outcome, outside of not hitting them on the head, starving them, exposing them to nasty pathogens, or putting them in a Romanian orphanage.

JohF: Indeed, that is absolutely true. There is some difference in IQ scores when you retest, but it is normally small. And, identical twins, even those who are separated, test within the same parameters as an IQ retest of the same individual.

Over the course of a lifetime, IQ can change. I noted that, and said IQ is more malleable in childhood. However, it stabilizes in adulthood. Adult IQ is 80% heritable, the same as height.

#16 Comment By JonF On July 7, 2016 @ 4:51 pm

Re: If genes were the only thing that counts, they would have the same character and preferences; but this is not the case.

On thing that has come out of clone studies in animals was just how different clones can be despite having the same genome. Even on a purely physical level. The first cat clone, “Copy-Cat” was A calico like its clone-parent, but the patterns on its fur were quite different– the two animals were easy to tell apart.

And your story, Giuseppe, reminds me of twin girls in my childhood neighborhood. One was bookish, the other tomboyish. The bookish one became a studious, polite, civilized teenager (if there is such a thing). The tomboy became a proper hell-raiser, running with the party animal set in high school. I have no idea what became of them afterward as I lost touch after high school graduation and moving to a new neighborhood. But, yes, they were anything but “identical” twins in behavior.

#17 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On July 7, 2016 @ 4:57 pm

“I’m wanting to tell wives” is ungrammatical.

#18 Comment By grumpy realist On July 7, 2016 @ 5:23 pm

Mrscracker–I seem to remember my mother telling me of seeing women in France in the 1950s putting out white linen on the grass as the traditional place to dry it. (Must not have had that many cats around. Am positive that if we had tried that at home would have found the family cat curled up in the middle.)

P.S. old, very washed cotton is quite flammable. Don’t ask me how I know this….

#19 Comment By JonF On July 8, 2016 @ 6:01 am

Re: In fact, we have no understanding whatsoever how to “nurture” someone to a different adult outcome, outside of not hitting them on the head, starving them, exposing

You are leaving the biggie: the influence of peer groups. That has some effect even on adult behavior.

As for IQ tests, I’m not sure they measure anything worthwhile unless it’s the ability to take IQ tests.

#20 Comment By Giuseppe Scalas On July 8, 2016 @ 6:10 pm


What makes them different, that 40-60% environmental difference? It is not their home environment, which was the same for both of your uncles. It is their “unshared environment.” This includes everything from developmental noise, their in utero environment, exposure to toxins and pathogens, etc.

I would argue that, if we agree that some character differences are innate (genetically or epigenetically) parents would react in a different way to those character differences (if you have kids you know what I mean) so, again, saying that nurture doesn’t count is still a long shot.

#21 Comment By Chris Travers On July 9, 2016 @ 2:42 am


Regarding parenting not mattering much…. The corollary of that is that cultural institutions don’t matter much either, and that values are inherently biological?

Have you ever had long discussions with people from very different backgrounds? Have you ever been able to see how background and the values one brings into adulthood are connected?

The twin studies don’t address the question of cultural judgments and that’s where parenting matters a great deal.

#22 Comment By Chris Travers On July 9, 2016 @ 2:43 am

As for IQ tests, I’m not sure they measure anything worthwhile unless it’s the ability to take IQ tests.

Well, they also measure the ability to do well in a school system built around the same views of intelligence as are manifested on the IQ tests…..

#23 Comment By JonF On July 9, 2016 @ 5:45 pm

Re: Well, they also measure the ability to do well in a school system built around the same views of intelligence as are manifested on the IQ tests…..

But against that there are some famous instances of people who had fairly mediocre school experience going on to do great things. The notion that a human being’s potential or even his/her intelligence can be measured with a single number is something that moves my BS meter into the red.

#24 Comment By Chris Travers On July 10, 2016 @ 4:40 am

“I’m wanting to tell wives” is ungrammatical.

‘Ungrammatical’ is illexical.

#25 Comment By mrscracker On July 11, 2016 @ 11:08 am

JonF says:

As for IQ tests, I’m not sure they measure anything worthwhile unless it’s the ability to take IQ tests.”
I read somewhere that IQ tests were developed in part due to the eugenics movement.
I’m not expert on IQ tests, but in one locale where we homeschooled we were expected to have the children take annual standardized tests. The testing material was heavily geared to suburban, middle class kids. My oldest son couldn’t rhyme some words because to a country boy, a deer with antlers is a buck. It rhymes with “luck”, not “near.”
A series of objects were shown with the question:” Which of these do you plant flowers in?” He chose the tin cans, which is exactly what gallon sized cans were used for at home. And even though he was reading 5th / 6th Grade level at age 6, he did miserably on reading comprehension because he’d answer in a moral fashion: “Johnny *should* have helped his mom wash the dishes” Even though the storyline differed.

#26 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 11, 2016 @ 12:26 pm

As I never tire of announcing, my IQ has been tested everywhere from 70 to 140. ‘Nuff said on that subject.

But back to mothers… There is an organization that has been around for 30+ years next to the laundromat where I wash my clothes. It is called “Welfare Warriors, Mothers Organizing Center.” It has a slogan “Mother Work IS Work.”

Now, one could argue with the “welfare rights” slant. As a hard-left socialist with a human face, I see a lot of damage done by that whole line of advocacy, although I have advocated effectively for people applying for SSI or other aid, who did need it.

On the other hand, this “Mother work IS work” is something that a conservative like Erin Manning could find merit in. Whatever the gloss and dross, we have a fundamental problem in our culture, politics, economy, that we do not value children. Oh sentimentally perhaps, but not substantively. Raising children, even if it cannot be shown to have major impact on ultimate outcomes, has to be done, or our children WILL have the experience of a Romanian orphanage, or a classically Spartan upbringing, or the experience of growing up in a Mongol camp, fighting with grown warriors for the last scraps of food in the pot. Raising children takes time, money, effort, attention…

That has to come from somewhere. Either mom and dad will contribute equally, or one of them will stay home during the kids most vulnerable years, or billions will be paid for day care, or children will be entrusted to a creche from age 2… but its going to use up resources somewhere, somehow.

We need to face that squarely, instead of writing if off as insignificant because our economic model has succeeded in keeping it off the balance sheet.