Anyway. I have been thinking about Ideals, more specifically, the Ideal of a family unit. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released The Family: A Proclamation to the World in September 1995. In that document they talk about the ideal family unit with a mother and a father who each have unique and divine qualities and responsibilities.
Some people have a problem with ideals because they feel that ideals are essentially unattainable and therefore depressing because people always feel like they are failing or falling short. Many people in the world today are spouting theories or amoral relativity. In other words, there are no ideals, there is no right way. It is all about what ever works for you and what you think is best.
The latter part of that statement I agree with- conditionally. But, it needs some tweaking.
Ideals are great things. Ideals are things that are meant to be striven for- not necessarily obtained. Remember the saying: "Shoot for the moon. Then, if you fall short, you will at least hit the stars." If we, as a society, do not have an ideal and strive to maintain it, then the natural entropic forces of life will degrade the ideal further. It is only but putting in the work, striving for the ideal, fighting against entropic forces, that we can resist the natural degradation of society.
I understand that there are many different types of people and families and, ultimately, you have to do what works for you. Each person has to evaluate their circumstances and do the best that they can, but that doesn't mean that they cannot hold the ideal as a distant goal.
I know some people who don't want to have children, and that's fine. That is their choice. But, personally, the people that I know that don't want to have kids, don't want kids because they had home lives that were screwed up in some way and they don't want to inflict, what they view as a normal childhood, on children of their own. And maybe that is noble. But, just because we are born into circumstances doesn't mean that we are not allowed to change them or rise above them.
Maybe, ideally, if these people grew up in homes with a mother and father who were patient, loving and kind, then they would understand the joy that can come from being part of a family unit and they would want to have kids. But, life often finds us short of our ideal preferences.
Maybe, if our society didn't define our contributions to our families by our gross income, women would find more joy in being mothers and staying home to raise their kids. It is SO naive to believe that the most and best thing a woman and a man can contribute to their families is money. We have so much more to give- why does society limit us in this way?!?
I went through this struggle. I left college early because I got married and my husband got a job in Texas. I freaked out. What are people going to think of me if I have kids and don't finish college? What am I going to say when people ask me what I do and I have no professional career accomplishments to share with them? Am I always going to have to bear that hidden scorn that people are always one second two slow to hide from my discerning eye?
Well, guess what? I know who I am, and I know what is important. Yes, I was married at 19. Yes, I have a son. No, I haven't finished my degree. Yes, I will graduate by April 2011 because I believe a quality education is important. I defy society to tell me that because I will be a stay-at-home mother that I am wasting my life and my talents in a position that is little better than a slave or a maid. (Which I also disagree with. Being a Mom requires sacrifice and selflessness but the rewards are great. I find that when I struggle most as a mother, it is because I am being selfish in some way or another. Selfisness- an indulgence I gave up when I decided to raise a child- for the most part. (-:)
Society- you don't get it. There are seasons of life. When I was single, I could try to have a career and change the world. When my children are grown I can try to have a career and change the world- if I want. Right now, I have a son. And I plan to have more children, and at this season in my life I am going to be a Mom. A Super Duper Mom.
"The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is the Hand that Rules the World." Mothers raise the next generation. If all the women are out, working, and leaving their children to be raised by other people- then they are giving up their chance to influence the next generation. Some mothers choose to work, and some mothers have to work and that is fine. You have to do what You have to do.
But that doesn't mean that there cannot be an ideal and that we cannot strive for it to the best as our circumstances will allow us to.
Let's hold onto our ideals. Let's strive for our ideals and in so doing, make the world a better place.