Speaking of College - Part I

Last fall Tim and I had a visit from an old missionary friend and we had a good time catching up on one another’s lives. J. knew that our oldest son, Andrew, was studying engineering at Purdue, but when he heard that our oldest daughter was now also a student there he expressed some surprise. With a bit of discomfort J., whose own daughter is still in high school, asked, “But do you really think it is a good idea for our daughters to go to college? Do you think that maybe attending college makes women less fit (content) to be wives and mothers?” Sadly, J. was speaking from his personal experience, as his wife struggles with these roles the Lord has given her.

Another question I’ve heard is, “Why bother with college when they are ‘just’ going to get married? Why waste the time and money?” Kara has encountered this thought even from a few Christian girlfriends. Yet this question also merits consideration. If a young woman hopes to be a wife and mother, is going to college a frivolous use of resources?

Maybe you haven’t thought about the questions surrounding daughters and college, and the subject might strike you as odd. “Of course young women should attend college!” might be your instant reaction. These days women attend college at far greater rates than men. It is not uncommon for the male:female ratio to be around 40:60 and colleges are working hard to find out what attracts and holds male students. But I think it is an issue that Christian parents of daughters ought to wrestle with. If you think you should send your daughters to college, why? And should there be any differences between what our daughters and our sons do there?

In some ways, things are more straight-forward for young men. They need to prepare themselves to be providers in order to care for a family, should the Lord grant them that privilege. Whether this means attending university, a technical or trade school, or serving an apprenticeship will depend on the individual.

When she was in high school, Kara served as senior editor of the e-zine of The Potter’s School, an on-line provider of courses for homeschool students. In order to see each issue brought to publication Kara worked closely with a young man from northern Canada who was head of the graphics team. Lendl is one of those multi-talented homeschool kids. He’s a competitive cross-country skier and cyclist, equally at home with techie stuff (he ran his own webpage business in high school) and Shakespeare, and most importantly, is devoted to the Lord. One day Kara asked Lendl, who is a gifted and very humorous writer, why he was going to study engineering when he clearly also loved the humanities so much. Lendl’s response was that it was against his worldview. “What?” Kara returned. Lendl explained that he wants to eventually be a husband and father, and he wants to be able to support his family. A liberal arts degree will not be as useful in that as an engineering degree. If I believed in arranged marriage, and if such things were up to me, I could have signed him up right then.

But this still doesn’t answer the question about what should a young woman do? Suppose she does hope to be graced with a husband and children, what should she do until that time? And what if the Lord has plans for her to remain single? In the next two blogs I will try to address some of the questions I have raised, and share conclusions that Tim and I have come to over time.


Rebecca Nugent said…
Eagerly awaiting Part II....:)
Anne said…
Thanks, Rebecca! Parts II and III are written in draft form, but I haven't had time to edit. Maybe in the next week or so...

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