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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Today's Letters: For moms, staying home worth the risk
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published May 20, 2007
Stay-at-home moms take big financial risk May 13, column by Robyn Blumner
In her column, Robyn Blumner wisely advises that mothers should never rest easy and just assume their husbands will always be fully dedicated to the marriage partnership. To take that gamble puts women and their children in a very precarious position. I'm sure all the divorced mothers out there never planned on their marriage failing or thought their husband would leave them poverty- stricken. They mistakenly believed that love was enough.
Nevertheless, the reason that accomplished, educated, professional women are opting for full-time motherhood when their children are young is not because of the media, career stress or that being a stay-at-home mom is the "easier road." The reason that we are staying home with our young children is because we feel that being a full-time mother is the best thing for our children.
I remember when I thought that motherhood was probably pretty easy. That was before I had children. Now I think that for some mothers, it is probably the "easier road" to drop their babies off at day care for eight or nine hours and go to work and get something accomplished in the larger world.
I may not be using my Ph.D. fully, but I'm willing to bet that I'm doing a better job at teaching my kids how to read, helping them learn right from wrong, and instilling our values of kindness, acceptance, integrity and honesty, than anyone else could.
In fact, no one could pay me enough to drop my kids at day care so that I could go to work. Yes, staying at home is a short-term risk, but it is worth it.
I plan to pursue a vibrant career as the children grow. There are only a few years that mom is needed so badly. Before I know it, they'll be asking me to drop them off a block from the mall. To everything, there is a season.
Amy Sauers, St. Petersburg
Full-time moms deserve respect
In her characteristically supercilious manner, Robyn Blumner shares her keen insights into what it takes for every mother to experience a meaningful and fulfilled life.
Blumner evidently feels that the only legitimate choice for a woman is gainful employment outside the home, and that any woman who elects to forgo or delay employment in the marketplace in order to remain at home and rear her own children is simply some man's fool. What a nice Mother's Day message!
The decision of a woman to become a stay-at-home mom because she believes it to be in the best interests of her children merits respect, not ridicule. Most women who make this choice understand full well what they are sacrificing, both personally and financially. What is truly troubling is not that some mothers elect to become full-time homemakers, but that such an election remains a viable option for fewer and fewer women.
Any labor economist will confirm that the unprecedented flood of women into the employment market beginning in the 1970s gave rise to a commensurate, long-term depression in real wages of men. As a consequence, over time, most families came to require two incomes to achieve a middle-class standard of living that formerly was achieved with a single income.
While women may have more choices about what sort of work they can do outside the home, then, most no longer have the option of being full-time homemakers and stay-at-home moms. Instead, many find themselves trapped in dead-end, boring jobs, earning wages barely sufficient to make ends meet, including the costs of having a third party care for their precious children while they are working. That is truly a shame.
Sidney W. Kilgore, Palm Harbor
Missing the point
Blumner misses the point. Mothers who are able to leave the work force in order to raise their children do so because they find family life far more rewarding and meaningful than whatever career path they were heading down. Their risk isn't some distant, improbable divorce potential. What they're not willing to gamble on is how their kids would turn out if nannies or day care raised their children instead of them. We've all heard nightmare stories of abuse and neglect of youngsters at the hands of so-called caretakers. That's the true risk.
By the way, this still holds true for fathers whose wives earn substantial incomes. Kudos to all the guys who have left work to become full-time dads. Society thanks you!
Sarah Lehrmann, Clearwater
Introducing Susan May 13
Running a front-page picture of a transvestite in an issue which is supposed to convey the message "Happy Mother's Day" is disgusting.
You then compound the felony by running Robyn Blumner's column, Stay-at-home moms take big financial risk. The warped personality responsible for labeling real mothers, who stay at home and nurture their children and family, the "dependent class, " is beyond pity. Our society and everyone's quality of life would be much better if there were fewer latch-key and day-care kids.
J. Daniel Techentin, Dunnellon
Introducing Susan May 13
An ancient proverb says: "Though they be clad in silk or scarlet an ape is still an ape."
It troubles me that journalists refer to a man in a dress as a "she."
Daniel P. Quinn, St. Petersburg
Times is no longer a family newspaper
I have noticed with dismay your growing interest in covering the Steve Stanton's sex-change saga in the Times. However, your Sunday front-page feature on a man in drag was the last straw - especially on Mother's Day - and I have canceled my subscription.
First, this is not news the majority of your readers consider worthy of the front page of a major newspaper.
Secondly, it's interesting to note that although Stanton will not have the surgical/physical changes for another year, and is merely changing his clothes and wearing makeup, your reporters have apparently gotten the approval to begin referring to him as "she, " "Susan, " and "her." Isn't this contrary to normal journalistic practices, i.e., AP style, and even common sense?
Finally, I cannot have this type of publication in my home where my children may happen to see it. We have taught our children that this type of action is wrong, both morally and spiritually.
I hope you'll take a step back and look at the repercussions of the subjects you're covering and think about restoring your image as a family newspaper.
Mike Whitlock, Palm Harbor
The very picture of happiness
I am a mother of three boys, and a great-grandmother of two, with another on the way. When I saw the front page on Mother's Day, I was filled with overwhelming joy at the complete happiness that beamed from Susan Stanton's face. No anger at this photo being printed on this day, on this page. Just happiness that this dear feminine soul has finally been able to join the sisterhood enjoyed by all women.
I also want to thank Lane DeGregory for such a well-written article.
Sharon Noel, St. Petersburg
Parenting is key
I had a dream May 13
After reading Bill Maxwell's column, I am more convinced than ever that Bill Cosby is correct when he says that the main reason for the failure of children in the black community is the lack of parental guidance. Although Maxwell does not come right out and say it, I suspect that most of the students he describes had very little positive parental guidance. I am also sure that the secondary schools these students attended played a part in this situation. I suspect that Maxwell's love of reading as a child and his success in life was due in large part to his parents.
In my own situation, my parents had much to do with whatever success I have had in life. I have a Ph.D. in marketing and taught for 35 years at three major universities, including the University of South Florida. In those 35 years, the students went from good to average to less-than-average. I attribute this to two things: the lack of good parenting and the school systems. A good case in point are the children of Asian parents. In general, these students are successful in school because of good parenting.
I don't care what color of skin one has; whether it is white, black, yellow, orange, purple, etc. Good parenting makes a huge difference. If parents don't do their job with their children, the outcome will be exactly as Cosby has stated.