I’m pretty busy these days, spending long hours. Â I can’t really keep up with my correspondence. Â And please, I don’t want to talk about my trial, guilt or innocence, because the court is already in the process of devoting quite a bit of time to doing just that. Â But I do have something to say that needs saying:
In the 36 years since I was first a mother, although improvements can be seen in lots of areas–from birthing alternatives to charter schools to improved opportunities for women, the situation with child care is pretty much the same as it was. Parents have to choose between big child care facilities or private sitters and worry…too rigid?…not enough structure? …too impersonal?…and what about sick days? Â Often it’s a day by day struggle as Mom tries to do her job and yet raise her children.
Children are the greatest resource of our community. Â Period. Â Yes, their well-being is the primary job (and more) of their parents, but society as a whole also has an interest and a responsibility in their healthful–and righteous–upbringing. Â We depend on them to carry on…well, everything society cares about. Â So why don’t we provide childcare rooms at the county council and the courthouse? Â A place where a mother (or father) can take a cranky child to feed or for a nap or to spend supervised time while the parent participates in government? Â We spent plenty on the new courthouse; for example, every courtroom has a wheelchair lift from the judge’s chambers to the courtroom proper, in case we ever have a judge who uses a wheelchair. Â Couldn’t some part of that money have been invested in our future citizens? Â Lots of folks have struggled for equal access to government. Â That’s why we have the wheelchair lifts, headsets for hard-of hearing, Braille on elevator buttons, interpreters for those who don’t speak English but must interact with the courts. Â Why is childcare always piled solely on the child’s parent? Â Don’t we as a society value our children? Â Don’t we want to care properly for our greatest resource? Â Don’t we want their parents to be a real part of “we the people”? Â I don’t think that’s why. Â I think we care deeply about our children, all of them and not just our “own” children. Â Maybe it’s because working mothers (and fathers) don’t make enough noise about the problem. The disability access came as a result of years of struggle, after all. So why aren’t these parents organizing to earn the right to childcare? Â The fact that those intense infant and toddler years are brief is part of the reason, but the biggest part is this: Â Working parents are usually just too BUSY to take on one more thing.
Rev. Nancy (Harris)