A couple of days ago, I received a comment telling me I cannot blame all the wrongs on the world on women working outside the home. I wanted to say that I fully agree. Women leaving their homes is just one symptom of a multitude of problems our society is afflicted with.
Our life, from being one organic unit where home, work and school were all one place, has become compartmentalized. People used to cook all their food from scratch, sew their own clothes and educate their own children, and living expenses were far cheaper than today. Now we are convinced it pays off to be shut away someplace to work, and give away our hard-earned money for things we might do without, and hand our children over to someone else to educate. We are much better organized now, we are recorded, written down, enrolled in all the right institutions. We are becoming less and less self-sufficient, and believe less and less in our own competence at basic life skills, and thus it's far easier for the government to control us.
The epitome of cruelty was the kibbutz experiment, which was a notion of radical Marxists. They wanted to eradicate the family unit altogether, and decided that children should be raised and educated in "a children's house", under the care of someone else than their parents. Luckily this warped idea was soon abandoned, but not before mutilating the souls of the children involved.
The family is irreplaceable, but the authority of parents is questioned by compulsory enrolment in an institutionalized educational system for children of younger and younger age. In
Children are eager to learn, yet I have met four- and five-graders who were already lazy and dumbed down, through no fault of their own. When a child of ten thinks reading a story is only worthwhile if it will be included in the upcoming exam, I believe something is deeply wrong.
Some argue that in elementary school, children learn to be disciplined, sit quietly, and acquire social skills. I have seen differently. I have seen otherwise nice, good-natured children gang around a leader (usually a bully), while others were pushed to the margin and suffered. I often hear that children are cruel and that's it. I disagree. Bullying and aggressive behavior are lessened when children reach a certain age, not thanks to being at school, but simply because it's a different stage. Overall, I believe that the younger the children are, the more negative effects come from them being locked away in large groups.
Not all women who are officially "in the workforce" are in the same bucket. Our communities used to be much more integral. Neighbors were friends, and you knew personally the lady from the post office or the grocery store. There were many ties interlinking the people of one community. Now, people who live in cities are typically shut away in cubicles all day long. They don't know their neighbors, and do their shopping in large centers with dozens of check-outs and an unfamiliar face behind each one. We have become detached.
I lack the time and eloquence to dive into the discussion of whether the industrial revolution was, on the whole, for the good of our society. I'm far from being against progress. But I feel that in some places, we have gone too far. We have lost the connection to our communities, our homes, ourselves. And time has proven there is no replacement for that.
Preserving and nurturing the culture of home and family life is one of the only windows of sanity in this crazy world of ours. I know that some realities are hard to overcome and not everyone can pack and move to a small rural community. But we can all act for renewing the value of family and home.