Educational expenses drove stay-home mom back to the work...

Letters to the Editor

June 19, 1998

Educational expenses drove stay-home mom back to the work force

I am writing in response to the recent letters to the editor concerning mothers who choose to work outside of the home. I am one of the many mothers who have chosen to return to a full-time career. The reasons that I have made such a choice are many, but none have anything to do with greed or the acquisition of material items, as has been implied.

Many families with two working parents would be able to make sacrifices and survive if one parent were to stay at home; however, the one sacrifice we dare not make is that of our children's futures. A solid education (early childhood through college and beyond) is of the utmost importance in the increasingly difficult and unforgiving world.

If the day comes when my husband and I are able to fulfill the parental responsibility of providing for our child's educational needs on just one salary, then perhaps one of us will choose to stay at home. In the meantime, do not feel sorry for our child. He is not suffering; he is thriving.

We love him and nurture him no less than parents who choose to live on one salary love and nurture their children.

Our lives may be somewhat frenzied at times, but when the time comes that we proudly leave him to pursue his future at the college or university of his choice, I doubt that he will be lamenting the fact that I was not a stay-at-home mother.

Elaine H. Bierly

Baltimore

Stay-at-home mothers have another resource

We applaud your article "The Mommy Rat Race" (June 9), depicting a day in the life of a stay-at-home mom and the stress the hardest job in the world creates.

Missing from your resource list was the Child Study Association of Maryland, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide education, support and friendship to foster effective parents and enrich family life. CSA has professional speakers, children's activities, play groups, lecture series, a lending library, community service and a quarterly newsletter. For information, call 410-526-4000.

Laureen M. Shefchik

Randallstown

The writer is Child Study Association president.

Girl should not say pledge if she doesn't feel it's right

"Why can't anyone disagree if this is Land of the Free?" asks Gregory Kane in his column (June 6). This is a good question, which gets to the core of the American interpretation of liberty and the classical definition, as expounded by John Stuart Mill and others.

To Mill, liberty was embodied in the concept of a person's right to be "free to disagree" or to act in good conscience and not be coerced by the state of any other higher power to conform to its own perceptions. In his words, "the only purpose for which power can rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others."

American freedom is more designed to perpetuate conformity to national or communal standards and penalize the individual, whether he or she is an atheist (as I am) or someone who refuses to recite the pledge because it is hypocritical to that person's perceptions (in the case of MaryKait Durkee).

We need to expand the perception of American freedom to encompass John Stuart Mill's conceptions, as well as notions of independence and equality. In so doing, Miss Durkee's judgments of national hypocrisy may be mollified, and I would not incessantly be told to go to an atheist country.

We should all be able -- if we are truly free -- to live and let live and think and express while being free to disagree.

Phil Stahl

Columbia

Who would have guessed that the public school system in rural Baltimore County 30 years ago was more liberal than California schools today? As a fifth-grader transferring from Friends School to Fifth District Elementary in 1968, I was astonished to see my classmates push back their chairs, stand in unison and, glassy-eyed, murmur an oath.

I decided instantly that the Pledge of Allegiance was objectionable, and that I'd work out my allegiances by myself.

I refused to stand or murmur, and the teachers and administrators at Fifth District Elementary and then Hereford Junior High and Senior High never insisted that I do so. No lawsuits were filed and I, my community and the republic are no worse for it.

I only regret that the four hours given to reciting the pledge over those eight years had been spent on something useful, such as an introduction to the Bill of Rights.

John Roemer IV

Parkton

In the off-season, ballparks could house the homeless

Two problems to which The Sun has paid considerable attention could be partially alleviated with no cost to taxpayers: homelessness, as evidenced in the long lines at Our Daily Bread and other soup kitchens that are so offensive to many taxpayers, and underuse of the Orioles and Ravens stadiums, both heavily financed by tax dollars.

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