Child-Care Responsibility Lies With Parents

Regarding the editorial "Child Care On Trial" (Nov. 17): I strongly disagree with your views regarding the issue of parents delegating the responsibility of raising children to others.

The editorial states various reasons why many women choose work over staying home and raising their own children. It's disappointing that the writer has been lulled into the societal trend of an increasingly casual attitude toward parental responsibility. The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, "Is not the propagation of the human species a greater responsibility, a more solemn charge, than the culture of your garden or the raising of stock to increase your flocks and herds?"

Having children and choosing to let someone else raise them is immoral and unethical. I applaud and praise parents who choose to raise their children over their careers (money). They may drive Chevys, live in apartments, have no cell phones, and not eat out several times a week. But they realize that their children really don't care where they live, or what new car they ride in. Sacrifices are made out of selfless love and family commitment. Home-cooked meals, budgets, and creative family fun are realistic options for those who are willing and determined. Many families are doing this today and succeeding in a supposedly impossible one-income situation. Many books are available on how to do it.

I am not sexist in thinking that women should be at home to raise their children. The important thing is that either the father or the mother needs to be there, full time. Knowingly or unknowingly, parents make a minimum 18- to 21-year full-time commitment to each newborn baby they have. Society cannot continue to cheapen this responsibility to the level of children as playthings or pets. Even in the animal kingdom, disregarding parental instinct is unheard of. Why have we accepted it?

My fond memories of childhood are not really of the "things" we had, but of the selfless sacrifices made by my mother and father. My mom would drive us to school in the morning, pick us up and make lunch at home, take us back to school, and pick us up at the end of the day. She was there to comfort our hurts, wipe our runny noses, and calm our fears. Many might think that I am disillusioned and long to return to the glorious family days of the '50s. Those who say I should get with the '90s miss my point. This is not 1950s thinking; it is just common sense.

The most important consideration for all parents is, "What is in the best interest of my child?" rather than, "What is in my best interest?" Isn't this basic moral and ethical decisionmaking anyway? Why should the Golden Rule be disregarded where children are concerned? Would you want to be dropped off at a day-care institution at 8 a.m. and not see your parents again until 6 or 7 p.m.? "Do unto others ."

David S. Robbie

Fort Collins, Colo.

Quality care also benefits society

I read with interest your opinion articles "Two Views of Who Should Rock the Cradle," (Nov. 25) about the pros and cons of subsidized child care. Yet, the benefits to society of providing subsidized high-quality child care were not mentioned.

The High/Scope Perry Preschool study found that subsidized, high-quality preschool in a low-income areas actually saved about $7.16 in public dollars for every dollar spent. The study showed how quality preschool can decrease the rate of high school dropouts, teen pregnancies, drug abuse, welfare, divorce, and arrests once children get older.

These are long-term benefits that accrue not just to the individual family but to society as a whole. Even if it were dollar-neutral, it would be well worth doing for the benefit of the whole society.

Marsha Epstein, MD

Los Angeles

Your letters are welcome. Letters for publication must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. All letters are subject to editing. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed to

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