I was disturbed by the article “Taking Back Our Kids.” The authors seem to think the best way to combat the consumer culture in which we live, and the problems it causes our children, is for one parent to stay at home. I disagree.
They assume that parents work only to keep up with the mounting bills created by a capitalist society. They neglect to acknowledge that many people, especially women, work for self-fulfillment. This is not being selfish. This is being healthy.
I stayed at home with my firstborn and went into a deep depression. Ironically, he spent more time in front of the television to make up for my inability to parent him properly. With my daughter, I was a full-time graduate student. I was happier and so was she. I had more energy available for one-on-one time despite my busier schedule.
We are living in a culture that worships consumerism. Limiting television and computer time certainly helps, but I have found that the best way to raise healthy kids in the current environment is to confront the culture, not avoid it. We discuss the television programs they watch and values the shows portray. I try to model a life and values that differ from what they see on the screen. I’ve also insisted they attend church, involve themselves in the youth group, and participate in outreach and mission activities, with the hope that they experience a way of being that differs from that portrayed by society.
I am blessed with two thriving and healthy children. I raised them as a single parent who worked full time. It is difficult creating a home at odds with the values of our culture, but then no one said it would be easy.
Angela M. Skinner
Yorktown Heights, New York