Fair and balanced?
Fair and balanced?
Hello CoCo! I hope you are doing well.
This point stuck out:
What honorable reasons did you write down? A couple of possibilities might be to help support your family financially or to engage in volunteer work.
We all know wha volunteer work refers to - so it is honorable to end your schooling if it is to be a pioneer/missionary/bethelite.
Also two of the quotes mentioned that one young man wants to be a press mechanic and the young girl an artist. More careers for bethel.
It may at first glance seem somewhat balanced but you don't need to look to deep to see the psychological word play and manipulation. Not balanced at all - it weighs heavily on doing the honorable thing - which is to give up secular education for them.
Also, you can never take their articles out of the bigger picture of what is constantly being pushed at the assemblies and meetings - they are definitely against education.
Welcome back, Hadit! Good to see you again. I hope that you, too, are well.
I didn't notice those points in my scan of the article. Your observations are spot on! Thanks.
All the best,
The article is addressed to High School kids and the academic goals are very vague. No mention of college or professional careers...only enough skills to be able to function in society. What about exploiting your full potential and contributing to making our society better? The message is also different than what you would hear elders would say to discourage someone who is contemplating college or university...
The WTS has always discourage ones from going to a college or university on a full-time basis. To take a course such as auto-mechanics, bookkeeping, or nursing usually would be fine.
This article, at face value is pretty fair.
Positive messages I gleaned from the article:
- School can be hard but that's no reason to give up.
- Set goals and stick to them.
- Don't drop out for selfish reasons.
- Adulthood is just around the corner - so get ready.
- Drop outs have a harder time acheiving success as adults.
- Just do the minimum that the law requires.
- Honorable reasons for quitting...(IMO, this shouldn't even be discussed as it provides potential excuses for quitting. If an emergency situation arises, then that bridge can be crossed.)
For the public, this is a safe article. But the JW-trained mind will read this article in an entirely different manner. For instance:
- "Volunteer service." That term has a different meaning to JWs. Most JWs consider working for The Watchtower Society as the only legitimate form of volunteer service. If a young person tried to join The Peace Corps, Habitat for Humanity, or spend their Saturdays working at the local soup kitchen, they would likely be warned about the triviality of such endeavors when compared to the more important work of converting new members to the JW religion. An example of this was found in this summer's District Convention drama. One character, a teenage girl who was showing signs of "worldly thinking" said that instead of full time service to the Watchtower Society, she would rather pursue humanitarian work. To non-JWs, that would be a fine goal. To JWs, that is misguided and by the end of the drama, she appeared to have dropped that goal.
- "Your teachers and others will no doubt give you advice on how much schooling you should have. Ultimately, though, your parents have the authority to make the final decision." JW parents are constantly reminded of the dangers of higher education. Within the JW religion, followers are warned about the persuasive tactics of teachers and guidance counselors who will encourage youth to make plans for college. Their advice is considered good-intentioned but ultimately, not worth much since they clearly don't uphold the same high standards as JWs.
- "A primary function of education is to prepare you to find a job that will help you support yourself and provide for any family you may eventually have." Sounds reasonable, right? It is, except for one thing. Not mentioned in this equation is the high level of activity expected from JWs by the the Watchtower Society. Each family is expected to be "in good standing" which usually requires attendance of weeknight and weekend meetings, dedicated time for family worship at home, regular private Bible study, and weekly participation in the door-to-door ministry. That is the bare minimum of activity required for a JW family to "fit in" in the congregation dynamic as a "good example." A conservative estimate puts the total of required service at approximately 7-8 hours, per person, per week. That's NOT counting preparation time, such as getting a family dressed and groomed, or travel time to and from the Kingdom Hall. If a family head is concerned about the material needs of the family to the point that service to the the Watchtower Society is replaced with secular pursuits, like working an extra shift on a meeting night, that head will risk being counselled by the elders in the congregation. If the counsel isn't heeded, the whole family may be labled "spiritually weak."
These articles are tricky. The public is given the impression that JWs are really normal, just like everybody else. JWs read the article and feel the pressure to conform to idealogies not mentioned in the public edition of the magazine but rather, those learned through the "inside editions" of the magazines and at JW meetings, assemblies and conventions.
A strange thing happens though when a JW is called out for their religion's unconventional stance on a matter such as education. They will refer to the more polished message of an article like this, and defend The Society by saying how balanced the approach is. All the while, they avoid mentioning the teachings that REALLY shape their values, like the most recent advice found in the November 15th, 2011 Watchtower, inside edition:
Vigilant Christians refrain from using the world to the full with regard to higher education. Many people in this world consider higher education an indispensable stepping-stone to prestige and an affluent life. But we Christians live as temporary residents and pursue different goals. We avoid “minding lofty things.” (Rom. 12:16; Jer.45:5) Since we are Jesus’ followers, we heed his warning: “Keep your eyes open and guard against every sort of covetousness, because evenwhen a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Consequently, young Christians are encouraged to pursue spiritual goals, getting only as much education as is required to meet their basic needs while focusing on preparing themselves to serve Jehovah ‘with their whole heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ (Luke 10:27) By doing so, they can become “rich toward God.”