Tis the season for special days honoring mothers and graduates. So I thought I’d use the occasion to suggest one modest proposal. It’s aimed at Christian colleges. Here it is in a nutshell: admit you have mothers.
My wife and I both graduated from Christian colleges. I’ve seen more than a decades worth of alumni magazines and college promo materials. As a pastor, I see the magazines from other colleges too, as many of them are sent to the church. These magazines are usually well done. I’m sure many people work hard to make these materials attractive and informative, while also putting the schools best face forward.
All I’m suggesting is that some of the best faces to put forward are mothers. And yet I can’t ever recall seeing a mom focused in alumni material from any Christian college. I know my recollection is hardly a scientific survey, so take this as one man’s perception. But I just don’t remember ever seeing anything about moms.
And before someone says, “Well, I’ve never seen a spotlight on auto mechanics or lumberjacks” let me point out that roughly half of the graduates of Christian colleges are mothers. Close to 60% of the graduates are woman and most them will get married and have children, many of them as their primary vocation for a long season of their lives. So I’m not munching on sour grapes that one particular kind of person never gets mentioned. I’m wondering why the calling lived out by more graduates than any other calling is so infrequently celebrated?
I understand that alumni magazines try to focus on the extraordinary. Inevitably they highlight graduates serving in unusual ways, or graduates with significant influence, or graduates who have gone on to make the school proud. I have absolutely no problem with any of that. Profile those folks most of the time. But for liberal arts schools in particular–the kind of institutions that pride themselves on making you a well-rounded person and a lifelong learner–it would be wonderful to see some spotlight on the “ordinary” graduates, especially if half of your graduates will go on to serve in the same field.
The last thing we want to convey is that moms haven’t gone on to do anything significant. The second to the last thing we want to convey is that a mom doesn’t really benefit from a good education and a Christian worldview.
So here’s my challenge: let me know if you’ve seen an alumni magazine from a Christian college that spotlights mothers, not mothers who also dance in the ballet and spin centrifuges, but mothers who are “just” mothers.
And a bonus challenge, this one for our fine Christian colleges: we’d love to see how proud you are of the half of your graduates putting their education to good use by helping their husbands, raising kids, serving in the church, and doing a hundred other amazing things that don’t look impressive to most people but should look impressive to us.