The Blog

As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

Training to be a Good Mother

Being  an  at-home mother especially during a  baby’s  first

three  years  of  life  has  to be raised  to  the  status  of  a

profession   like  doctor,  lawyer  and  teacher.   As   in   any

profession,  in  order  to be licensed to practice,  one  has  to

finish  a  course of study and complete  an   internship.   After

successfully  completing training and entering the  child-rearing

profession,  a  mother,  like  every  other  professional,  would

receive a salary commensurate with her training and experience.


 
Sound far fetched?  Maybe not.  Maybe something as  dramatic

as giving motherhood the best the country has to give in terms of

money, education, support and prestige is the only thing that  is

going  to  save   our neglected children and  ensure  a  brighter

future  for  our  country.   In  our  status-conscious   society,

motherhood  is  about  as low  as you can get.  At  the  top  are

athletes,  movie stars,  and other celebrities,  who   contribute

little if anything to the country’s well-being.


 
 The reason motherhood should be given the high status of  a

profession is that every profession  polices its members  because

all  suffer when one performs badly.   We  suffer too.  Deficient

doctors  endanger our lives.  Deficient  lawyers  exaggerate  our

quarrels.  Deficient  teachers perpetuate our ignorance.  And, as

was recently pointed out by  James Q. Wilson of UCLA,   deficient

parents  produce  angry citizens.           


 
These catastrophic consequences of our society’s  negligence

in  child rearing was recently addressed by James Q. Wilson,  who

is considered one of the most influential political scientist  of

his generation.  Senator Daniel Patrick  Moynihan once said  that

James  Wilson, as  one of the smartest men in the United  States,

should be paid  attention to  when he has something to say.<

 
What  he  says  loud and clear, is a warning to all  of  us.

He asserts that   our nation is in serious trouble if something is

not  done  about helping our children, especially those  born  in

poverty  to  young,  unwed mothers,  to   grow  into  responsible

adults.   This   help needs to come early, before  the  child  is

three years old.


 
As   things now stand, Wilson  feels that America  is  being

poisoned  by  a  subculture  of young people who  are  armed  and

dangerous.    They  are  excited  by  drugs,  form    gangs   for

protection,  and  are sexually adventuresome.   These  youth  are

indifferent  to the future and marginally employed.  They  reject

the idea of hard work and social conformity.


 
We  are  fast  becoming  what  Benjamin  Disraeli  said   of

Victorian  England,  “two  nations,  between  whom  there  is  no

intercourse and no sympathy”.

 
  One of  Wilson’s solution is a GI Bill for parents.  Under

this  Bill,  a mother would  be encouraged   to  be  a  full-time

parent  and to postpone her career  while her children  are  very

young.  In return, as in the GI Bill for servicemen,  the  mother 

would receive educational entitlements which would enable her  to

finish  school, to attend college or graduate school or  to  take

technical training courses.

 
   Training  necessary  to  be a  good  mother  crosses  all

economic  lines.   Unwed, young mothers, however,   have  a  more

difficult  task  than  those families where  there  is  a  father

present.    These  mothers live in poverty because, Wilson  says,

they  produced a child before marrying,  had a child  before  age

20, and did not finish  high school.

 
One of Wilson’s suggestions for these mothers is to  require

teenage mothers to live with their babies in a home supervised by

experienced  mothers.  Other mothers who need help would  receive

home  visitations  along with child care.  These  programs  would

cost  a  great  deal  of  money  but  the  overwhelming  negative

consequences  to our nation of not providing for  its    children

are already being experienced, especially in our big cities.

 
We cannot afford to continue to neglect our nation’s babies.

Especially  since  these  babies are growing  up  to  be  violent

adults.  It is no longer a question of maybe or maybe not or when

I  get  around  to it doing something  for the babies,  it  is  a

question of our  survival, not in the future, but NOW.  

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