February 11, 2014

Editorial: A lesson very well learned

George Santayana, the renowned Spanish philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist from the 19th and 20th centuries, said, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

That could serve as a lesson on the conduct of the life of an individual or a nation.

The Press-Republican offers weekly remembrances of events from the past, in the news section and in the sports section, as a source of entertainment and possibly as a source of reflection or instruction.

In Monday’s edition, our news Lookback noted that, 50 years ago, then Keene Central School Supervising Principal Charles Holt shared his opinion that the increasing number of women entering the nation’s workforce was hurting the labor market and leaving family responsibilities unattended.

He asked, “Are we in America so dedicated to making money and personal gain that our children are only incidental and to be considered as inconveniences to the working mother and upsetting her plans?”

Principal Holt may very well have been echoing popular sentiment in 1964, but history has taught us that that kind of thinking went out of style rather quickly.

In the first place, women of talent and resourcefulness had little outlet for all of their imaginative qualities when anchored to the home.

In the second place, America was trying to compete for preeminence in a wide range of areas in the world without using all of its brainpower. By denying women a place at the table of economic and cultural development, the United States was assigning its progress to only half of the qualified people.

And weren’t men created with the ability to tend to family matters, as well as women? Fathers were missing out then on the fulfilling and rewarding duty of raising children.

Was it in every family’s best interests to send the father out to work and leave the ironing and the cooking to the mother? Obviously not.

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