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Why I'm Nervous About University...
...for my kids, that is.

I've been thinking about higher education quite a bit lately, and I'm quite nervous.

My oldest daughter tends more towards the arts. She's very good at science and math, but I think she'll want to take literature or history or something. I'm hoping to push her towards economics, which has a little bit more scientific basis, but it's difficult.

If she goes to a Christian university, chances are things will be mostly better. But not entirely. The truth is that most of academia has been taken over by an anti-capitalist agenda. Now I'm not particularly pro-conspicuous consumption. I think all of us should be living far more frugally and giving more to the Third World. But when you look at history, that which has brought the most justice and equity and health and standard of living has been capitalism.

And most of academia sees everything through the prism of gender and race oppression. So you don't study Shakespeare anymore. You study the "Queer Themes in Shakespeare".

I immersed myself in liberal university groupthink for seven years. I have two Master's degrees, one in Sociology, and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. It made me anti-intellectual. It made me think people were smart as long as they used big words, even if those big words meant nothing.

I have learned far more since graduating just by reading the classics--Adam Smith, Rousseau, Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and of course all the literature classics. In seven years of sociology we never read anything remotely classic. We read all these new theorists who were, in my mind, likely insane.

I remember taking a class on Sociology of the Family. I thought we'd learn about the effects of divorce on children, the prevalence of abuse, the importance of parenting, etc. etc. Instead we learned that women are always oppressed in marriage, we watched a movie where female sociologists in their 60s all said that if they knew at 20 what they knew now, they would have become lesbians and had a much better life. We learned that divorce is liberating, and that women never ever lie about rape and abuse.

(Incidentally, my husband was called in to the hospital at midnight last night for another custody case disguised as an abuse case. I won't go into details, but people lie about their children being abused all the time. I don't know if that's what happened in this case, but he's seen a lot of it, so that the accuser gets sole custody and thus larger support payments. Many parents, of course, do have legitimate abuse issues; some of my close friends have to send their children off to see their abusive exes and it kills them. But let's not kid ourselves and say that all accused abusers are abusers. That's why Keith hates abuse cases; either some parent is abhorently evil and hurt their children; or the other parent is inherently evil and is lying about it. Either way there's evil all over it, and it really bothers him. Especially at midnight).

It took me several years after university to gain my mind back and my critical thinking skills back again. September 11 helped, but I was well on my way before then. That's when I started really reading, though.

And the truth is that I just don't want to shell out $40,000 or more to have my kids learn this junk. But it's so hard to avoid in schools today.

Katie, I think, will go to a Christian university so I won't worry as much. But Rebecca is brilliant. Katie is smart, but she doesn't particularly like intellectual things. Becca does. She's going to need to meet really smart people. And so she's going to need to go to a top university. And that's just hard. In the States you have choices, like Grove City College or Hillsdale. In Canada we don't.

I'm starting to wonder if university is that useful anyway. I bet job experience would be more useful than four years of studying the Queer Themes in Shakespeare or The Sociology of the Family as Seen Through the Simpson's. Or a course on Stephen King. Am I off base here?

I'm writing a column about this later this month, so I'll have to sort out my thoughts. But it does bug me. And I find myself praying about it a lot, though they're still very young.



At 2:27 PM , Blogger Julie said…

At the risk of being accused of being "anti-intellectual", I'm having a lot of doubts about university myself. Obviously there are lots of factors to consider (!!!) but I don't think I would encourage my three sons to go off to college without a very specific goal.

Even many "Christian" universities have become more liberal than you might imagine.

If God has put on their hearts a desire to be a doctor, an architect (like Dad :0) ), an entomologist, or whatever, then GREAT. I will help them work toward their goal.

But you're right, most universities are aggressively indoctrinating their students in the polar opposite of a Christian world-view.

Meanwhile, how easy is it to find a good mechanic or plumber when you need one?!


At 8:49 PM , Blogger Catherine R. said…

I have to say I think Christian colleges are sometimes not much different than secular colleges.

I will also say that I have no shortage of regrets about my college experience. I know God can use things for good, but sometimes I think the good that He's using it for is me telling people to really use their heads before going to college with a sheep mentality.

I echo your experience with the pagan/ socialist/ feminist/ moral questioning experience. Sometimes I think there is something inherently wrong with college and universities at the core. Maybe it's because there are too many people there that don't need to be there. Women outnumber men greatly when it comes to graduating and I do not see this as a positive.

It's certainly possible to study productively and get on a path to a legitimate career however, it seems like this downright rare compared to all the people who end up worse off and in debt after college is over.

I could go on about this forever. I think women/ girls especially need to seriously consider whether or not "higher learning" is necessary. Is it because we are looking to prove to people that we're smart? Is it because we want to learn how to do a bunch of stuff and think a certain way then end up becoming homemakers and using 1% of what we learned?

There is also the seriousness of the fact that many many women will end up having to marry a man with no degree simply because they are outnumbered by degree holding females. I am one of those women...hubby has no college education and I do. We have both said we'd like to give him my degree if possible since I stay home now and his earning power is limited.


At 12:08 AM , Blogger Kathy said…

As someone who is currently immersed in universtiy life, I agree that uni can be very challenging, especially for Christians. Having the Bible touted as a book of myths but having Evolution unquestioned makes me uncomfortable, but I know that a tutorial or seminar is not the place to bring up a topic like that!

Don't worry about your children though - from what I know of you from your blog they have strong foundations. Even if they get shaken up a bit they will be okay. Last year I had a really difficult time (thanks to a sociology course about religion!) where I began to make allowances - not so much to question my faith, as to think that other things weren't as 'bad' as they actually are. But thanks to the prayers of oters and the grace of God I am very much stronger for the experience.


At 12:12 AM , Blogger Kathy said…

Oh, by the way, I go to the University of Tasmania, Australia, which is definately not a Christian uni, but not to bad for a State uni! There isn't even a Christian uni in Tassie... but there are employment rates that are getting lower and lower! Sometimes I think I would have been better off to work, as my Arts degree isn't going to get me much, and even the teaching degree I am doing next does not have a high rate of employment. In any case, employers often choose those with experience and no 'qualifications' that those who have spent 4 years getting 'qualified'. It is a wonderful world!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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