Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The ultimate goal?

As I passed the magazine recycling bin at work Saturday, two magazines stared up at me: one was Glamour and the other, Woman's Day. I remember when Glamour magazine was relevant to my life (if only in my mind). But, alas, articles about going-out hair (when do I go out anymore??) and bargain summer dresses (that only fit size 1 models and which my son would promptly puke all over) really aren't my thing. So I picked up Woman's Day. Must-have recipes, energy boosters and how to get a flat belly (with NO SIT UPS!!!) are just more relevant these days.

An article dubbed "Motherhood in 2007" contained a question.

What's your ultimate goal for your children?

1,000 women responded. Here's the breakdown:
  • 83 percent: That they get into a good college and have rewarding careers.
  • 12 percent: That they get married and have kids.
  • 5 percent: That they move out of my house.
Now, I realize that the answers were likely chosen by Woman's Day. But why limit your ultimate goals for your children to two narrow views of what constitutes happiness? As my husband pointed out, the choices are more of a product of good living than a goal.

First of all, college and a rewarding career don't ensure happiness, nor do marriage and kids. What bugs me most about the answers is that it inculcates the absurd notion that everyone should go to college or have kids or get married.

College is not for everyone, no matter what John Edwards says. For a lot of students, college is like high school with more alcohol and less supervision. Graduate school has become the new undergrad and a place for twenty-somethings to hide from the work force. Just to clarify, an undergraduate or graduate degree that prepares a person for a specific career is useful. There are a host of careers for which higher education and training is appropriate: doctors, nurses, counselors, lawyers, journalists, engineers, architects. A five-year degree in liberal studies with no career plans is useless. And once you get your degree, there's no guarantee you will have a rewarding career.

And, marriage and kids? Where do I start? That may be another post entirely! I'll leave it at this: There is virtue in being single and childless.
[Jumping off my soap box now]
How about this for an ultimate goal? We want our son to be content with whatever he chooses to do, and, of course, we do want him to eventually move out of our house.

1 comment:

maryellenlewis said...

College for everyone?? It might as well be an extension of high school. When everyone has a degree, well, its just not worth that much anymore. Well said Josee.