High-School Teacher Tells Graduating Girls It’s Now Time To Start Having Babies

Indiana high school teacher peter heckWell, this is outrageous: While giving a commencement speech at an Indiana high school, social studies teacher Peter Heck told graduating students: “We don’t need more women CEOs; we need more women as invested mothers.”

Heck, how about both? [Yeah, I went there with that awful pun.] That’s the really nifty thing about a large and multifaceted society like ours: Some women can become CEOs, some women can become invested mothers and some women—are you ready to have your mind blown?—can even become both. At the same time.

Seriously, it’s shocking, I know, but neither do women’s ovaries shrivel up when they enter a boardroom, nor do they stop giving a hoot about their offspring as soon as they get a corner office. Female CEOs (as well as lady lawyers, graphic designers, truckers, bloggers, nurses, sales reps, etc.) are not only physically capable of bearing children but also still capable of loving and caring for them. It’s almost like women are much like men, who have long been both fathers and workers without everyone’s heads exploding.

But let’s not get carried away here. That bit about men and women not actually being from different planets might be a little much for Heck, who started his little spiel by reducing women to their wombs and wedding vows.

“I challenge you to devote yourself to your families and your children. If you choose to have a career, God’s blessings upon you. But I challenge you to recognize what the world scoffs at, that your greatest role in your life will be that of wife and mother. The greatest impact you could ever contribute to our world is a loving investment in the lives of your precious children. To solve the problems plaguing our society, we don’t need more women CEOs. We need more women as invested mothers.

Perhaps Heck should consider speaking at junior-high commencements in the future; think how many more years all those 13-year-olds would have to devote themselves to their greatest role in life if they didn’t have all those pesky algebra and geology classes getting in the way. You don’t need a diploma to change diapers, girls! I smell a speaking tour ….

In an interview with RTV6 Indiana, Heck defended his comments by noting that he also told high school boys to be “fierce defenders of their wives” and family providers. If those high school women want to have careers, “by golly, that’s what they should do,” he added. By golly!

“I was addressing both the ladies in the audience and the men, stressing to them that the most important role any of us will ever have is the role that we play in our families,” Heck said. “I was simply saying to the women as well that the most important role they will ever have … is investing in the lives of your children and raising them.”

Photo via Peter Heck’s website

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    • Jennifer Ertmer

      That speech has to be the most -or at least one of the most -ridiculous train of thought ever! Women have to manage employment (sometimes they are lucky enough to have a job that is actually a great career), home and family simultaneously. Sometimes it is by choice, very often there is little to no choice involved in the path they walk though. Very often, there is a certain amount of guilt involved too because they can’t be in both places (workplace and home) simultaneously and yes, one does miss out on a lot of the life processes of children with these choices. How many men deal with emotions along those lines with their work? Whether a woman is able to opt for a great career, has to take a low-paying, run-of-the-mill position or is able and wants to be a SAHM, should be supported for whatever it is without being made to feel inferior in any way, shape or form for their choice or circumstance.

    • Anna Radchenko

      I 100% agree with Peter Heck. What he was saying is Biblical and while, unfortunately, many women HAVE to work in order to provide for their families because a father is not in the picture, this was not how God intended it to be. It looks as though Heck was just misunderstood and many people took his words as an offense, when all he was doing is challenging women to look back to the role they were ORIGINALLY CREATED FOR and encouraging them to put their family first. Obviously women can have careers, too, and I know many loving, invested mothers who do BOTH – but there are also NUMEROUS who are more concerned with their career and less concerned with their children, so they just send them to school for 8 hours a day and then have someone else take care of them until evening. Women were created to raise up their OWN children in the home… agree or disagree, but that’s what our role is – whether you like it or not.

      • Jazz F

        “but there are also NUMEROUS who are more concerned with their career and less concerned with their children, so they just send them to school for 8 hours a day and then have someone else take care of them until evening.”

        You do realize that exact same sentence can be used to describe men who work but then leave the raising of children to the mother, right? Could’ve sworn that mess was supposed to be equal…

        “Women were created to raise up their OWN children in the home… agree or disagree, but that’s what our role is – whether you like it or not.”

        And I’d much rather YOU not tell me what MY role in life is. I’ll follow the path God has laid out for me, thank you very much. Not your half-cocked notion that, as a 24 year old female, I should’ve forsaken my thirst for education and pushed out a few kids by now. Know who else tells women they should, “know their role”?…Pimps.

      • Anna Radchenko

        God does tell us His plan and it was His plan I wrote, not my own… we were created to be help meets to our husbands (Genesis 2:18) … and if we have children (which is God’s original intent – Genesis 1:27-28), we are to help our husbands by having our role in the home and in the children’s lives, while the husband is to provide for the house financially and protect the family (1 Timothy 5:8) — this is all God’s ORIGINAL plan (those words are GOD’S, not my own)… I’m not telling you to do anything, I’m just sharing what God specifically said His plan was for mankind — HOWEVER, YES, sin does cause us to stray from God’s intent where men don’t provide, women take a man’s role by stepping up and providing for their family because men won’t, etc. etc. etc. all of this happens because mankind sins and goes away from God’s original plan… and then years later (such as now) mankind is totally far from God and think it’s NORMAL… when they really need to go back to Scripture and see how far we’ve strayed.

        Now, obviously if you’re not married yet, then you are to follow God’s will in serving Him wherever that may be (yes, even in getting an education and starting a career – which I never said was wrong)… but when you CHOOSE to get married because God brings that man into your life, you DO have a new role as his wife to be a helpmeet to Him first and foremost (and some women want to work, and their husbands believe it’s fine for their family, so they do – ok, fine)… every family is different and has different needs, but God’s original intent for families stands and it was God’s plan I was sharing, not my own… mankind has just strayed so far from it that people start getting defensive and saying they have no rights if people bring up a Biblical truth, which was all Heck was doing – encouraging families to look back to how it was originally supposed to be…

      • mb

        Except that I’m not religious and don’t believe any of that. People like you are why education is so important.

      • JF

        And each relationship with God is individual and like none before or after it. How do you know its not God’s will for these mothers to both work and care for their families, not out of necessity “due to an absent father” (I honestly wanted to reach through my computer and hit you for that moronic statement), but because that is what he saw fit for them? You keep spewing off what “God’s plan” is but you have no idea what his plan would be for me or for anyone else. You say God’s role for women was to birth and raise children and nothing more, right? What about women born with defects that don’t allow for this? Did God screw up or did he have another plan for them? God doesn’t make mistakes so clearly he had another plan in mind. I’m sure he’ll apologize for not letting you know about the play change ahead of time though.

      • Guest

        never did I say women’s role is only to birth/raise children and nothing more – you said that on your own. all I said was that it is their MAIN role IF they are wives, and then mothers… obviously it’s not your role to be a mother if you have no children… obviously it’s your role to be a wife if you are one – that’s all I’m saying

      • Guest

        never did I say women’s role is only to birth/raise children and nothing more – you said that on your own. all I said was that it is their MAIN role IF they are wives, and then mothers… obviously it’s not your role to be a mother if you have no children… obviously it’s your role to be a wife if you are one – that’s all I’m saying

      • JF

        I love how you backtrack. First you say “women were created for the purpose of birthing and rearing children”, then you say “well if a woman is a mother then that’s her role” There was no if in your first assertion. You claimed it law of the land and now that I threw it back at you, you’re trying to word things to not seem as ignorant. This type of double speak and contradiction is why a lot of people stay away from religion, in particular Christianity. Too many people “preaching the Word” and getting it wrong.

      • Jules

        Except he has no right to drag out those old tired ‘biblical’ beliefs in a secular environment. Not all of us believe we should live “The Handmaid’s Tale” in real life.

        Now, if you enjoy doing nothing more with your life than popping out babies and getting your husband’s slippers, that’s fine. But don’t tell me that’s what I should be doing. You have no right.

      • Guest

        here’s the full context of Heck’s speech: http://www.peterheck.com/speaking/rebellion/

      • meteor_echo

        Get out of here with your misogynistic drivel. We were “originally created” for living our lives the way we want it, not being walking and talking incubators, so fuck off.

      • meteor_echo

        Get out of here with your misogynistic drivel. We were “originally created” for living our lives the way we want it, not being walking and talking incubators, so fuck off.

    • http://twitter.com/Athena007 Athena Stamos

      This is a bit shocking… I think because it’s something we don’t often hear in a positive light. But I think I know what this guy was trying to get across. I think he’s being misunderstood here, a lot of kids are growing up and having figure it out on their own… I believe he’s just asking women to make sure they are investing in the future people of our world.

    • Eileen

      When I was 17 (almost 18), and really excited about going to college, I went to a birthday party for the girlfriend of a friend. The birthday girl, who was turning 20, had gotten pregnant on her 18th birthday and kept the baby. I was and am curious about pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood, and we’d had some interesting conversations in the past, so we were talking about it. At one point, I said, “Of course, I don’t plan to have kids for awhile.” She laughed at how “straight” I was. She is now 26 and has had 3 children (luckily, none with my friend) and 0 full-time jobs.

      Basically, what I’m saying is I totally believe that there are people like this.

    • Martin

      Need I point out that a couple of decades ago when women staying home to raise their children was the norm and divorce was much less common; there were no school shootings, crime was much lower, teen pregnancy rates were dramatically lower, etc. Obviously, women can both work and have families, but inevitably they don’t do both well. Frequently they don’t do either well. Then there is the problem of stagnant wages. Increase the supply of anything including labor and the price is going to have trouble rising unless demand rises even faster. Now both parents have to work to have the standard of living that the father alone provided in the past. Dumb.

      • Jules

        Go crawl back under your misogynist rock.

      • NelJel

        I have to disagree with the school shootings, you clearly have no facts to back that up. For example, in the early 1970′s a kid walked into the high school in my hometown and shot a teacher in the head.
        My mother (who was a student at the school when this happened) worked full-time as a teacher and touched many students’ lives. She was and is the most loving and devoted wife and mother we could ask for. She did both VERY well.

      • NelJel

        I have to disagree with the school shootings, you clearly have no facts to back that up. For example, in the early 1970′s a kid walked into the high school in my hometown and shot a teacher in the head.
        My mother (who was a student at the school when this happened) worked full-time as a teacher and touched many students’ lives. She was and is the most loving and devoted wife and mother we could ask for. She did both VERY well.

    • Jessica

      I think it’s important to note, since it’s not included above, that he also said, “To solve the problems plaguing our society, we don’t need more men as millionaire entrepreneurs, we need more men acting as fierce defenders of their wives and providers for their children.”

      As seemingly outdated and preachy as his speech may have been, I don’t think he was intentionally telling a room full of graduates and their families that a women’s place is solely in the home. He used that analogy both ways, but no one seems to be offended by (or even covering) him telling the boys in the room that the world doesn’t need them to be millionaire entrepreneurs.

      I believe the point that he was trying to drive home in his whole speech was to encourage “rebellion” among the graduates- for them to go out into the world, challenge what he feels is the status quo, and put a moral focus on family-life above all else. His delivery may or may not have been the type of talk that goes over well in his community; many parts of Indiana are extremely conservative.

      Regardless, it seems that everyone had a knee-jerk reaction in hanging this guy out to dry for saying what he felt he needed to say. We don’t have to agree with him, but if we‘re going to make a judgment on his character, reading the speech in it‘s entirety seems like a necessary first step. Call him old fashioned, preachy, and out-of-touch, but I think calling him a “misogynist” is casting just as much blind hatred on him as we’re assuming he has for all the women who have ever been successful in their careers.