Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Flour Sack Baby and the Destruction of the Family

If you went to high school and took a health class, then I'm sure you're familiar with the Flour Sack Baby. If you went to a school that had a little bit of money, then you might have even used one of those fancy baby dolls, with the computer board inside and key. Wasn't having a flour sack baby a great way to teach young ladies how to be mothers and for teenage boys to value children! No, it wasn't. In fact, it was just another subtle way of undermining the family and the value and importance of children. What do you mean, you say?

First, let me give you a summary of the FSB lesson: for a few weeks, the teenager is required to carry around the flour sack baby 24/7 and keep it as if it were a real baby, imitating feeding the baby every 4 hours, occasionally rocking it, etc. If you can't bring it with you somewhere, you are supposed to come up with babysitting-fee figures. According to a school handout I found online, the student is then required to calculate the expense of a baby's first year. Also, it discusses having a job with a baby (of course it NEVER mentions the woman staying at home to raise the baby). There is also a handout and discussions about what makes a good father. In the end, the supposed goal is to make the teens think about the implications of having a baby in the teen years.

So What's Wrong With That?

Now, if you remember watching those with the flour sack baby, the students carrying around the "little darlings" were laughed at. The girls and boys seemed annoyed and some embarrassed and the FSB was tossed around to friends. At the end of the experiment, the attitude of the students seemed to prove what the experiment was trying to accomplish: DON'T GET PREGNANT OR GET YOUR GIRLFRIEND PREGNANT BECAUSE BABIES TAKE ALL OF YOUR TIME, MONEY, AND RUIN YOUR CAREER GOALS!! NOT TO MENTION YOU CAN'T GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT IT TAGGING ALONG!!!  How could one possibly come away with this social experiment and desire a baby? You won't.  There are just a few problems with the FSB: it is made of flour. For the teenage girl, it did not come out of her womb, she does not have bonding hormones with it, she doesn't look into its eyes, lovingly respond to its coos, feel the warmth of the child, nor share in any of those amazing, precious moments of the first year child. And, let's be honest, a 2 week experiment is not going to keep many teenage couples - when finding ample time alone - from having unprotected sex. Why? Teenagers, along with MANY adults, are impulsive and cannot see past the moment and the hormones to look at the consequences. Second, for many teenage girls and guys that do use contraceptive methods, pregnancy won't occur. However, the negative view of children and the family has been planted into their heads, thanks to these ridiculous school experiments.
 Part of this lesson is to teach the student that a baby is a huge financial burden. On the handout, this is what is listed for the year of clothing the baby: Here is some better advice : buy at thrift stores, garage sales, and ask for hand-me-downs from the moment you know you are pregnant. When my kids need coats, I don't walk out the door on a cold December morning and spend 40 bucks at JCPenney. I plan several months ahead, looking for used coats months before winter (in fact I'm looking for a 4T coat now!). Proverbs said it best: She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. Simply, she prepares for the times to come. Some of what I mention is in the handout, but of course lost in the paragraph below the list of clothing prices.

One more price section I'd like to analyze: 


I was very fortunate, as I realize not everyone has a baby shower or relatives who supply these things, but here is what my personal breakdown of the above looks like:
Crib: GIFTED to me (and still being used for kid #3 and will be for kid #4)
Crib sheets, blankets and bumper pads: crib sheets were hand-me-downs or given to me, most blankets were from garage sales or a gift. After Bruce was born, I did buy a package of receiving blankets. I made Bruce's bumper pads and the latest ones I picked up at a thrift store for 75 cents. Yes, 75 cents.
Infant Seat: Gift. (If you have a girl then a boy, it doesn't harm the infant to ride in a pink car seat or for the girl to endure the blue. If it bothers you that bad, throw a receiving blanket over the car seat cover).
Car Safety Seat: Gift
Stroller: 1st one - gift. Second - garage sale for 15$
Dresser/Changing Table: Gift

Having children, under God's design and His timing, is one of the greatest joys in life. As Melanie Wilkes says in Gone With the Wind: "The happiest days are when babies come."


AnnM said...

Kim, you are absolutely right. This experiment has little affect on teen pregnancy, but has a profound affect on the overall view of children as burdens instead of blessings.

Too often I hear of children being left in cars in the Texas heat because the distracted parent FORGOT they were there.

One of the largest modern expenses associated with children is child care. Too often that cost alone will limit couples to one or two children. All the while, keeping them at home is free where they not only reap the benefit of seeing their mommy all day, but not constantly being rushed from one place or another. True, this limits the household income, but that only forces the family to prioritize what is truly needed and will benefit the family. Frugality is a lost art in these modern times, and one I am still learning myself.

MommiDonni said...

I really enjoyed this. I find it true too. Im a stay stay at home wife and mom of 2. I was searching for a saying my dads grandma used to say, "Babies come whether there is a sack of flour in the house or not." This saying is well over 100 years old!

And i found your blog. Not exactly what i was looking for but i agreed with all you said. God Bless!