Sunday, May 13, 2012

Relativism in the Nursery

Mother’s Day morning I had a rare opportunity to watch CBS’s Face the Nation. Quite fittingly, the panel assembled for the closing discussion was made up of moms. Inevitabley, Bob Schieffer asked the panel for their opinions on Time magazine’s “Are You Mom Enough?” cover. Republican strategist Bay Buchanan said this:

[W]hat does it suggest? How long should we nurse our babies or should we nurse our babies or-- or what is it [sic] best? This is nonsense. This is for women to decide. We don't need anyone on the outside telling us what's best in our family to do because we all are different and so are our children. So I just think it-- it-- it's an outrage that they even suggest this kind of cover or the-- the headline to it (;contentBody).

I could have thrown an alphabet block at the television.

Quite often, statements to which many who share my core values and beliefs would say a hearty “amen” do not sit well with me. In these instances, I let the offending idea or statement percolate a while until I come to a full understanding of why it bothers me. It didn’t take me long to see what’s wrong with Bay Buchanan’s assertion.

On the surface, Buchanan’s remarks seem agreeable. Mothers are responsible for making choices for their children, and it is to be hoped that those mothers know their children better than anyone else knows them. In a perfect world, mom will always do what’s best for her child. However, I believe Buchanan’s position is based on a significant philosophical error: the belief that all choices are equal (relativism). This thinking is rampant in our society: homosexual marriage is said to be as equally appropriate as heterosexual marriage. No teacher in a public school would dare suggest Islam is a religion of hate and violence because all religions are deemed equally valid. Roe v.Wade gave pregnant women the “right” to choose between two supposedly equal options.

But all choices available to us are not equal. Not in matters of morality or religion, and not in the realm of parenting. Breastfeeding and formula feeding aren’t equal. (Ask the mom who adopted a three month old and cries because she’ll never breastfeed him.) Staying home full time and working full time aren’t equal. (Ask any mom who longs to stay home but can’t afford to. Her heart breaks every day.) Setting a child in front of educational television programs for hours isn’t equal to reading him books and engaging him in conversation. (Ask a first-grade teacher.)

I’m not saying we should go around rebuking mothers for their less-than-best choices. None of us chooses what’s best every time we make a decision. I’m not saying moms who make inferior choices don’t love their children. As a teacher, I’ve seen a few mothers make horrible choices for their children that will handicap them for life, yet I know those moms would die for their children.

Instead, I’m asking moms to be aware of how relativism has unknowingly crept into the nursery and to start evaluating their choices more carefully. Feminists, the media, countless other sources have led us to believe no choice is right for all people. Christian women wouldn’t accept that lie when it comes to issues of morality or religion. How can we accept it when it stands to rob our children of what is truly best?

1 comment:

Cheyne K. said...


Lucid and important thoughts. Thank you for reminding us (even us fathers) of the importance and value of seeing through our decisions to the underlying issue(s).