LDS Women and Post Secondary Education

Should LDS women be encouraged to seek a post secondary education if they’ve expressed an interest in having a large observant family?

Let us assume that a large family could be classified as a family with five or more kids. These children, if all births are not multiples, can be born in a period not less than five 40 week intervals plus four 4 week periods to become impregnated again. This works out to 216 weeks or 4 years, 2 months. That’s a pretty tight schedule to keep, but possible I guess if one were motivated enough. The time from the birth of the first child until the exit from the home of the last child would be a period not less than approximately 22 and one half years (assuming a good synchronization with a school schedule or a home schooled family).

The world we live in now changes at an ever-increasing rate. There is evidence of exponential rates of change in industries and technologies used by employees and researchers the world over. The education you receive today may, depending on the field of study, not be useful or meaningful in 5 years time. Especially if you plan to work in a technical industry or in a research position. How much out of touch would you be if you were to cease your studies for 5 years? 10 years? Just imagine how hard it would be to initiate a job search in your field after leaving it for more than 20 years.

The description of a women’s role in the ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ is that “women are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children” while men “are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” This is familiar territory for many families with Dad being the breadwinner and Mom working in the home with the children. Most devout LDS women who work in the home go so far as to be available through the day for their children even when they are in secondary school or choose to home school their children themselves. Both of these behaviours offer little to no availability (or motivation) for additional work outside the home.

Given that raising a large family can span over two decades and that education now has an ever-decreasing shelf life, does it make sense for a young LDS women to attend a post secondary institution at all?

Let us, for a moment, consider other reasons one might wish one’s LDS daughters to attend a college, trade school or university if their education is not of a primary concern.

One argument is that being out on one’s own is a character building experience. True enough but one does not necessarily need to pay tuition to live outside one’s parent’s home.

Perhaps the argument is that all their friends are going off to school and they don’t want to be left behind or miss out on the shared experiences of their peers. Arguments that ‘everyone else is doing’ lead invariably in my mind to an exercise in bridge-jumping and at their core hold very little weight in regard to the best activities for youth in life experience and development of coping skills. In fact, leaving the pack can often be the child’s first experience of making their own decisions and developing coping strategies of their own.

Another argument is that attendance at one of the private LDS post secondary institutions is the best way for a young LDS lady to meet and be courted by a returned missionary and in time evaluate to what extent he takes his career studies seriously; not to mention the safety of being surrounded by members of one’s own faith during that courtship. This does have some sense to it, but the question remains; would it not be more cost efficient and time saving for the young lady to simply live in Provo or Rexburg until they’ve met the man they feel is ‘the one’? Many a parent may want to keep their daughters busy while they are in search of a life partner and simply enroll them so they have something to do during the search. But is this really an efficient and effective way of facilitating such a search? And what happens when she is wed and wishes to immediately start a family? Does the education she’s started simply be thrown away? Would this not lead to issues with her self esteem and self worth?

Would it not be more fair and effective if LDS parents were to instruct their daughters who have expressed interest in leading life as an observant LDS Mother of a large family, to not bother with post secondary education altogether?

What labour shortage?

Apparently Lethbridge’s so-called labour shortage has reached the ears of Toronto reporters. They’re saying such things as :

“If they’re standing and breathing, they’ve probably got a job,” Abbott says one recent morning in his popular Penny Coffee House. “We’ve been forced to take whatever comes through that door.”

So why is it every job I’ve applied for tells me I’m over qualified, then shows me the door?

Rebranding

Since the start of the year, my full-time position has been evolving.

A previous employee in our department was charged with fraud last fall. As a result, many of the policies in our department needed to change. Our department is a small (four employees) IT department in one of the faculties at the University of Lethbridge. Previous to these fraud charges, a single person controlled purchasing, receiving and inventory.

In the last six months, I have been made steward over all the technological equipment used by our faculty. This amounts to hundreds of items on three campuses with a total value of roughly $250,000. As steward, I have been responsible for auditing all of the equipment we have on all three campuses, reconciling these records with those in the central Financial Services department, developing a new policy manual with the financial analyst and the department supervisor.

In addition, I am also responsible for receiving all new shipments, tagging them and recording their details (serial number, P/O info, etc) in our tracking software; managing salvaging old equipment; tracking purchases and flow of consumables (such as printer toner); filing copies of receipts for purchases made with professional supplement funds.

As a result of these new responsibilities, there has been a shift in my duties. As the responsibilities and steward position evolve, less of my time is focused on web design. This is not a bad thing necessarily; after all, working on the same website for five years can leave much to be desired. Also, working on the same website for five years has stifled my enthusiasm for web design in general.

Because of all of this, I have come to realise that I do not think my career future is in web design. For that matter, I do not see my career future being tied to any single industry. While I do believe I have strong skills in web design, the industry does not allow me capitalise on my many other skills. The new responsibilities I have do allow me to do just that.

Acting as steward and working on these small projects these past few months have helped bring enthusiasm into my work life; an enthusiasm that has been gone for a long time. In fact, it has given me hope that I can actually take my career somewhere.

As a result of all of this, I am undergoing a personal rebranding effort. I am analysing how I am branding myself and my skills currently and doing what I can to change this in order to highlight my strong skills and accomplishments.

I fell good about this decision, and I hope to see myself better off.

Vulgar Careers

In General Conference last April, President Faust said the following:

We unavoidably stand in so many unholy places and are subjected to so much that is vulgar, profane, and destructive of the Spirit of the Lord that I encourage our Saints all over the world, wherever possible, to strive to stand more often in holy places.

Can we apply this counsel to careers? There are certainly careers out there that are prone to vulgarity (e.g. oil rigs, construction). Should Latter-day Saints avoid such careers?