Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Joyfully At Home: Chapter 12 - Part Two

 We woke up to a power-outage this morning.   My husband has just left the house when it happened; I woke up to my cell phone alarm a few minutes later.    My son's preschool teacher called as I was working on figuring out if the school had power; they didn't.

To be honest, I hate power outages in the country.  I was spoiled when I lived in the city.  A power outage would kill the power - but we had gas for heat and cooking and running cold water.   In the country, we lose power and we lose all utilities.  No running water at all.  No heat since the oil-fired furnace has an electric fuel pump.  I can cook outside on the grill - but the lack of water for clean-up is a pain especially in the winter.  I did finally remember to put a 1 gallon jug of water in the bathroom so we could flush the toilet - but that's about it. 

To add insult to injury, my husband's family all live along the same power grid so if we lose power, they lose power.

Thankfully, my parents had power so I loaded Spawn up and took him down there.  He was really clingy today, so I'm writing this as he's sitting on my foot.   Actually, that's a big improvement; I had to do my leg stretches with a preschooler attaching himself to whatever limb was most convenient.

Speaking of lack of power, young Jasmine Baucham's chapter on "Why Do You Live At Home?" in her book "Joyfully At Home" gives some very weak rationales for failure to launch.   The two quotes we'll be discussing today are in response to the very sensible objection of "You need to be career-building by going to college or learning a trade other than housekeeping".
A little girl growing up in the West is presented with the all-American ideal is being sent to the high-profile college of her dreams, where all of her desires can be easily within her grasp as long as she presents the golden ticket: her diploma. A college diploma is insurance against poverty. The young woman is told that if she is educated enough, she can get a good enough job to ensure that she will never be financially insecure again. A college diploma is an insurance against dependency. A young woman is told that she will be fully self-sufficient with the right amount of education and work experience. A college diploma is insurance against bigotry: little girls can fight the tide of sexism by proving that they are just as well educated as the men in their lives. (pg. 142)
Making light of objections is a different thing than disproving the objections.  Higher levels of education decrease the rate of unemployment AND increase the average weekly pay for workers according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The exact details of rates of unemployment and weekly earnings change over time - but the trend remains the same.   In fact, this graph has a fairly low reward for advanced degrees because the economy has been doing well and unemployment is low overall.  When unemployment is high, the contrasts get more stark. 

The simple truth is that gaining a degree opens more job opportunities while keeping many job openings available at the lower level.  When I earned my high school diploma, I opened a pool of job opportunities.  When I earned my bachelors, I opened an new pool of jobs while remaining a viable candidate for the jobs that required a high school diploma.   The new pool of jobs brought an added bonus: there are far fewer people who have bachelors degree so there are fewer people to compete against for those jobs.  Those two pools working together explain why the unemployment rate drops so markedly at an associates'/bachelors' degrees.

Occasionally, anti-college activists will make a ill-considered argument that there are fewer college degree requirement jobs than non-college degree therefore people who get a college degree are more disadvantaged in the job market.   That argument ignores that fact that relatively few jobs penalize for hiring a candidate who is more qualified than the minimum.  Some employers will be understandably worried that the candidate may leave rapidly if offered a more desirable job - but that can be assuaged by the candidate explaining why they prefer the work load of this job. 

From personal experience, the words "I worked retail successfully before for 8 years" combined with "I'm looking for a part-time job on evenings, weekends and holidays because of a medically complicated kid" explained why a former teacher wanted to work at a home improvement store.

Jasmine makes light of financial insecurity.  I can't entirely blame her for that; she's benefited from having college educated parents and a tiny family-of-origin most of her life.  Her dad is in the 2% of American adults with advanced degrees; her mom graduated with a bachelors' degrees.   She and Trey were born when her parents were in their early and mid-twenties - but the next kids were not added for quite a few years.    The Maxwells run into the same irony.  Steven Maxwell's engineering degree and corporate jobs built the Maxwell family wealth much more effectively than a family ministry would have done.  Plus, Nathan Maxwell benefited from working at a corporate job that made him a much stronger contender to start a business than Joe Q. Homeschooler whose father preached to nobody.

For all of that - I suspect the Bauchams understood the effects of sexism and racism of the chances of young women to get jobs.   While she was writing this, Jasmine was going to college - and she did earn a degree from a real college.   

The American dream failed to line up with my biblical calling as a woman, as a daughter, and as someone who may - and probably will - become a wife someday. Glean God's word as I might, I can see no pattern in Scripture for a young woman to pack up and head cross-country to be discipled outside of the framework of the church and home. (pg, 142)
Well, I have no pattern in Scripture for people blogging - but Jasmine had a blog running at this point without any objections. 

More broadly, the Book of Ruth describes a young woman (check) who goes to a foreign land (check) to be discipled  (becoming a good Jewish woman is close enough for me) outside of church and home (both of which she leaves). 

I can hear the objection "But Ruth was under the authority of Naomi!".  Wrong! 

Naomi far more clearly states the expected and correct actions by Ruth and Orpah.  Naomi's male line in the local area is dead so Naomi will return to her homeland to avail herself of the charity available to widows.  She cannot guarantee a marriage for either young women so the young widows should return to their fathers - or brothers - who can arrange suitable marriages for them.

Instead, Ruth sticks by Naomi.  Naomi is an widow past childbearing age and the work of gleaning from harvested fields is grueling; I've always believed that Ruth accompanies Naomi at least in part because she knows Naomi will survive longer if she's with a woman of marriageable age who can glean more effectively. 

So we do have a Biblical example of a woman leaving home and kin to care for a person who needed help more. 

For many CP/QF homeschool graduates, the inclusion of "traveling cross country" to go to college is a red herring, anyways.   There are a lot of colleges spread across the USA - and I'm betting that most people live within commuting distance of a community college, college or university.  Living at home is a pretty standard if unexciting way to keep the costs of a college education down. 

Finally - we have another 'knock on wood' example of Jasmine Baucham reminding us that she's really training to be a wife and mother someday.    I would find her argument that women can follow God regardless of marital status more effective if she crossed out every conditional reference to her future marriage. 


  1. Yeah, I agree. I have big issue with her making light of girls getting an education and wanting financial stability. I read that paragraph wondering what planet she lived on where she could scoff at a desire to not be poor. But, you reminded me. She's got tons of privilege keeping her from understanding what likely 90-98% of the women in the world live through.
    Dear everyone reading: please don't listen to Jasmine. Having more options for employment is awesome; a large percentage of people at some point find themselves in a situation they never thought they would be in someday. Options help.

    1. Advice from 19-year old Jasmine is often skewed by her lack of exposure to people from different backgrounds, the relatively comfortable situation of her family and the fact that's she's 19.

      Lots of older teens and early twenties think they have the world all figured out; it's a developmental stage as much as "no, no, no" is a great stage for toddlers - but thankfully - very few teens are allowed to write and publish advice books that get much traction.