OK, I know I probably shouldn’t be posting my own personal complaint about the talk that has already been deconstructed all over the Bloggernacle. But all this debate over career vs. getting your whites whiter than white seems to have missed what (to me) was the most disturbing thing in the entire talk.
This idea that children are jewels that sparkle brilliantly as they reflect the rays of their mother’s righteousness — that a mom’s status and prestige comes from her children’s accomplishments — is a staple of Mormon culture, as is the one-upmanship that naturally follows: noting how neatly turned-out the children are for church, counting how many eagle scouts the mother produced and how many missionaries, and judging the Mom’s righteousness accordingly. (The Tales from the Crib article was the only one I saw that hit on the question of competitive motherhood.) Beck has essentially come out and stated it directly: your children (not worldy possessions or honors!) are what make you look good.
Obviously children’s accomplishments (good and bad) reflect on the parents. But I like to imagine that’s not the point of having kids, and that it’s not the kids’ job to be walking evidence of their parents’ talents; that’s not how we value them as people.
But when you take a highly achievement-oriented culture and add that a woman’s only vocation is to be a mom, the result is mistaking families for scorecards and children for jewelry.