Op Ed

Article excerpt


we are pleased at the level of communication that has been generated by recent issues of the Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences. Your commitment to express opinions about the content of the Journal is valuable to the profession. The following letters reflect a dialogue in our society about issues critical to the profession. Ed.

Dear Dr. Kinsey Green,

Upon receipt of the AAFCS newsletter today, I said, "Thank goodness, AAFCS has responded to Oprah Winfrey's comment during her Gore interview - regarding parenting education in the schools."

I immediately sent her a letter too. As my evidence that we are teaching "Parenting," I told her of the book Parenting: Rewards and Responsibilities, which I have written, that is used widely for such classes. Glencoe/McGraw Hill publishes this book and it is now in its sixth edition and used throughout the US and in some foreign countries, too. The sales have increased continuously since it first came out in 1980. It basically covers planning to become parents, family planning, how children grow and develop, and what a parent can do with that information in rearing children. The book is beautifully designed with color and photos of all ethnic groups in wonderful color. I've seen lots of books and it is very well produced. We have teacher aids in the teacher's edition.

Since Oprah operates out of Chicago, I gave her my editor's name, Sue Scott at Glencoe, and another home economist who teaches parenting in the Elgin schools. I hoped that she might develop a program segment on parenting education.

I visited the State Department of Education in Alaska and they had "kits" prepared with the book and illustrative materials ready to ship to the outer reaches of Alaska so anyone available could teach parenting. I've visited ITV classes in Kansas where three towns get a class taught at the same time by one teacher. Schools are making an effort, is my point.

The Littleton, Colorado teacher showed our "homemaker's" group of AAFCS-mostly retirees, the latest computerized doll that her students must take home for a weekend or overnight. She sets the computer for an "easy" or "difficult" infant - exactly newborn in size - and she can read when the infant doll is returned how attentive the student was to the infant's needs. Yes, an extensive effort. But this teacher is teaching Parenting with a capital P. I later saw a 15-year old with this type of doll with her family at a restaurant!

So, along with your efforts and other's efforts we've informed someone reading mail at Harpo - maybe not Oprah. What now?

We need to encourage teachers and supervisors to get some publicity on their programs. (A relative in a small town recently told me that they read in the local paper what the ag and shop kids are doing - "but not a word as to what the FHA [now FCCLA] or child development classes do.") So publicity would be important to educate many others. The joke about Martha Stewart "rediscovering" home economics is not a joke.

Someone could investigate getting a segment on Rosie O'Donnell or Oprah, or other talk shows. Likely needs a good recent angle but surely would help.

I thought you should know I'm ACTIVE. I have two books dated 2000 and another being revised for production before long.... I travel and volunteer. My granddaughters keep me young and happy.


Verna Hildebrand, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus Michigan State University

AAFCS Staff:

I could not agree with Ms. Winifred C. Jardine more. Her OpEd in the Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, V.92, #4, 2000, concerning the direction our organization is going was right on line. It is past time we spoke out against the sanctioning of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. This is contrary to our objective of strengthening families. Nor should homosexuals be placed in positions of leadership within our organization. …