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.