<Editor's note: The original post was "6 reasons" and 2 were added since (#6 and #8) just in case 6 weren't enough.>
Probably the most controversial and rejected position we have at Fix the Family is that parents should not send their daughters to college. It is even more vehemently opposed than the submission of wives to their husbands. Both of these positions we have are a threat to the trophies of the feminist agenda, so the rejection we receive is always emotionally charged and ends up insulting, since once explained logically, the opposition runs out of substance and is only left to hurl insults and presume and misconstrue this practical wisdom into some chauvinistic evil. But to distinguish these 2 issues, we are NOT saying that sending a girl to college or women working is a sin. But after looking at the issues we raise, we would challenge anyone to convince us that college for girls is not a near occasion of sin. In order to fore go further discussion (argument) on the issue of college for girls, this article will outline the principal reasons for shunning college for girls.
Before getting to those reasons, first let’s deal with some of the common objections that are received when this issue is raised (FAQs):
- You don’t believe in educating women. False. College and education have very little to do with each other. College has become more of a training ground for a job. Let’s be clear: college graduates receive a diploma, not necessarily an education. Many wise people in years past obtained great educations by seeking knowledge from books and good material. Today, anyone can learn anything they want with the vast library system across the country and with the easy access of the internet. So the real reason girls go to college is for a degree, not an education. I strongly believe girls and women should be educated, first and foremost in the Catholic faith. If we look COMPREHENSIVELY at the Catholic doctrine, we’ll see very little that promotes a woman working outside the home. Further a good working knowledge of the basics for today’s culture and progressive society can be learned in 12 years of school. Politicians say that 12 years is not enough today, but that is because of a failed corrupted education system. Homeschooling parents can educate their children in 12 years. College may be necessary for the provider of a family depending on the vocation God is calling them to or for those who are called to the Priesthood, both of which are intended for men.
- You believe in oppressing women. False. The Church teaches that husbands and wives are of equal dignity, but with different roles. Almost all of our children will choose to marry. Actually, since the purpose of a college degree is for a job, it becomes unnecessary for our daughters to have such a credential. My personal impression is that the day-to-day grind of a job is below the dignity of women. In a way, it is like being a hired hand, as result of the fall and the penalty for original sin. Of course the Lord and the Popes have raised the dignity of work as a way of husbands living out their vocation and duty. But the penalty for the woman as a result of the fall was pain in childbirth (which requires having babies), not to work. Sending our wives out to work should be a very last resort, a misfortune, so it shouldn’t be part of a plan for young ladies before they even get a start at family life. Keeping a home, being a loving wife, and being a nurturing mother are of immeasurable dignity to a woman and not something to be farmed out to servants. The feminist world has twisted this so that a job (career) appears elevated, and homemaking is denigrated. This is the evil work of Satan and devastating to families.
- You believe in taking away opportunities for women and trapping them into a subservient role. False. We believe in women making wise prudent choices for themselves. The indoctrination of the feminist culture and the practicing of a sexually promiscuous lifestyle severely cloud, practically blind that good judgment. Getting a college degree often makes a young lady feel an “obligation” to use it, to make money. Often her husband doesn’t want to see it go to “waste.” So the degree is what actually traps her. Not having a degree frees her to enter into a marriage with proper roles in which her husband will provide for her and their children. Christian marriage by definition does place her in a submissive role to her husband, but no one forces anyone to marry anyone. She should go to the altar with full knowledge of what she’s entering into.
- God calls women to use their talents. True. Women over the last couple of generations have proved their abilities in the workplace, but only in a different way. God has always given women abilities to bring value and service to their neighbor, which is what people with jobs do. But to distinguish, as Catholics anyway, it was rarely that a wife and mother did this until the last couple of generations, and look at the impact on family life. Before, it was nuns who did these things buildings convents, hospitals, schools, etc etc. We only need to read the lives of the saints to see what they did. We see only a VERY RARE EXCEPTION of canonized saints who have this. Generally women will marry and have children so are gifted by God with the natural abilities to nurture (feed and raise) as well as educate children. Today’s society has a very accessible conduit for that ability that is very conducive to family life: homeschooling. Educating and caring for children is the most valuable calling of a married woman and requires accomplished abilities. These are no small matters. But mothers often say they could not stand to be with their children all day. What? Just stop and think about that sad sad statement. If that is the case, why did they have children? In choosing for our daughters, we may need to bring them to awareness of this attitude and direct them toward the single life or to that of a religious sister.
- A woman needs to have something to provide income in case her husband dies, becomes disabled or leaves her. True. The first 2 issues can and should be resolved with insurance, which is very affordable for young couples who may be vulnerable to these VERY remote possibilities, which is why it is so affordable. A responsible family will have such coverage in place. As for the husband leaving her, the possibility of being left in such a state would make a woman MUCH more careful about the man she decides to marry. Think about it. If you know you're throwing your COMPLETE trust and future on a man, you'll want one you can certainly rely on.
That being said, here are the reasons to NOT send your daughter to college:
- She will attract the wrong types of men. I share the common concern addressed to us, again mainly by angry women, that there are so many lazy men in our society. But what mystifies me is why girls continue to marry them and then live to complain about them, along with their parents. So what normally happens with this setup is that those lazy men who are looking for a mother-figure in a wife are very attracted to this responsible, organized, smart woman who has it all together along with a steady paying job with benefits. So if he wants to go to work he can, but if not he can always fall back on her income. Or if he “doesn’t want to have to answer to anyone” he can start his own business, and it doesn’t matter if it fails or succeeds or makes enough income because again she’s there to help. The bottom line, HE is only supplementing HER income, but he’s supposed to be the provider. These are very strong stresses on families that I have observed to consistently repeat themselves over and over. What she did that was looked upon to be the “responsible thing ‘just in case’” ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy because of the type of man she married.
- She will be in a near occasion of sin. Just think of the environment that college-age students live in. You have a heavy concentration of young people all living together without the supervision of parents at the most sexually charged state of life they will experience. How can one expect that anyone would be able to avoid these temptations, even on a Catholic college campus much less a secular one? So if it is unnecessary for one to be in a near occasion of sin, is it prudent to willingly put oneself there? This is no small matter we’re dealing with here. Is a degree worth the loss of your daughter’s purity, dignity, and soul? Catholic OB-GYN Dr. Kim Hardey notes that a woman is naturally very observant of a man’s faults as long as she is in a platonic relationship with him. Once she becomes sexually active with him, she releases hormones that mask his faults, and she remains in a dreamy state about him. We can see why God would arrange things in such a way so that when in a proper state of holy matrimony, she would be less sensitive to his faults and thereby less tempted to be critical of him. But before marriage she should be very sensitive to the complete reality of the man she will enter into a lifetime commitment with. It is one thing to advise our daughter of this reality in ordinary situations, but placing her into an environment that will tempt her to lose this barrier is unfair to her.
- She will not learn to be a wife and mother. Nothing that is taught in a college curriculum is geared toward domestic homemaking. On the contrary, it is training in a very masculine role of a professional career. So there becomes a severe inner conflict in a woman when she starts trying to be a homemaker and juggle a career alongside it. Often when a career woman discerns the possibility of giving up her career, she faces the reality that she has had no training in homemaking and often has the thought “What would I do at home all day.” Stay-at-home mothers are actually very busy industrious women and do absolutely beautiful marvelous things. Surely the business world severely undervalues those things they do, but the value to a family is beyond monetary compensation. These abilities cannot be learned in any college.
- The cost of a degree is becoming more difficult to recoup. Like anything that is subsidized by the government, the cost of a college degree is inflated. That being the case, it can often be difficult or impossible to get an adequate payoff for the investment. The most common example of that scenario is the job of a school teacher. More commonly now we’re seeing situations where not only is the income not enough to support a family, but many are strapped with student loan debt. Add to that the possibility of not even being able to get a job with the degree and you have economic disaster for a family before they even get started. It makes much more sense for a young couple to have a husband with a skill that brings value to the marketplace that has reasonable compensation to go along with it and a wife who is willing to be frugal especially during the early years of starting their family.
- You don’t have to prove anything to the world. Often the reason for a girl going to college is the pressure of the society around her, including her parents. The girl who graduates from high school along with her parents gets the endless barrage of questions of “Where are you going to college?” The society is so fixated with the feminist ideal of women having to have a job and provide an income to have worth. So parents and their daughters often beam with pride in announcing what university she will attend. Astonishingly even homeschool parents fall into this folly. Often homeschooling parents feel they have to prove that they have done a good job in educating their children and are validated by them going to college. But the confounding thing is that they went through all this effort to raise and educate their daughters themselves but don’t give their daughters the opportunity to do the same by locking her into a career.
- It could be a near occasion of sin for the parents. In our culture many parents feel an unnecessary obligation to pay for the children's college tuition. Of course to aid in that there are a host of financial advisers who can set up college investment savings programs for which the government will grant tax favors. So parents may avoid having more children with contraception, sterilization, or illicit use of NFP to bear this cost. To assume that all of our children will need a college degree is quite a stretch, particularly for girls who will likely be mothers.
- She will regret it. The more we talk about this prudent option for girls, the more we have women who are willing to admit to the regret they possess for having bought into the lie of the dual-career family. A recent comment we received was “Too many of us females were sold a bill of bs in the '60s. How wrong we were. Praying for wisdom for future mothers, fathers and families. JMJ+” We are not surprised that more and more women are coming forward to tell their stories of regret for having by-passed the more meaningful things in life to opt for the approval of feminists who cared nothing more about them than being statistics to reinforce their agenda. All the while they regret neglecting their children and restricting their childbearing to such an extent that they don’t want to even think about it. While we do receive some of our most violent rejection for this position, we receive just as many or more approvals for standing up for what is right and good.
All this is said as an explanation for our position on this issue, not to offend or condemn anyone who finds themselves in any of these situations. But it is said because it is good and true and practicable. It can be done even in our current society. So the intent is for the good of families of the future. We have to humbly give our children the best options and direction even if they don’t conform to the world’s norms and even if we have to humbly admit poor judgment and decisions on our parts.
God bless you+
And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what the good is, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. (Rom 12:2)
9/10/13 This just in, so that we don't leave girls called to vocations out:
8. It could interfere with a religious vocation. According to Corey Huber, President of the Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations, Catholic seminaries and religious orders do not accept candidates who have substantial unpaid debt. He states the average college loan debt today is a staggering $27,029 which takes most graudates a decade or more to pay off.
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2/26/14 We're still seeing this article is getting a lot of attention so to reinforce the position here, check out this video we did a year earlier about a Harvard Law graduate that sets a prime example for all that is said here.