Why is becoming a parent not standardized nor tested?
It is often said that raising children is the most important job there is in a society, because it is this which produces citizens (and thus society) of the future. However, there is no training nor qualifications required to do this job — anyone with reproductive organs can become a parent. Does this seem right? We need to pass both a theoretical and practical test to drive a car, so why is the important job of parenting open to anyone? Given Socrates’ views about the division of labour — according to natural aptitude and ability — as the best way to organize the functions in a society — doesn’t it seem sensible that we should require prospective parents to undergo some kind of standardized testing to determine their ability and suitability to perform this important job in society?
Raising children is the most important mission (rather than job) there is in a society. For life (and thus society) to be sustainable we must learn to delegate, and hope that the new generation will lead us up a better path. As the old Arabic saying goes, He who gave birth, hasn’t died; hence a kid is a reflection and continuation of his parents. Experts reveal that toddlers mostly learn from their environments and parents’ actions and behaviours. That leads us to the main question about parents’ eligibility to raise kids. As Socrates had mentioned, wisdom is a virtue of rulers and role-models. Therefore, parents ought to be educated and embellished with wisdom. That being said, standardized tests may lead to a stereotyped society.
a. Standardized tests may lead to a stereotyped society
Standardized tests on parenting may lead to a stereotyped society. Unfortunately, this is happening in today’s education system. Most students follow the same academical path which subsequently results in stereotyped career paths. However, as Socrates was discussing, for a city to function, it requires masters of different technés. Thus, we need to foster diversity and encourage cross-pollination between masters of different technés rather than raising masters of the same techné.
From a different angle, the first requirement of becoming a parent is love. Every test has a certain grading system. The main concern that may rise from a grading system is, if grades affect the initial spark for two individuals to make love and become parents. That will defy love, an initial value that has led the existence of humanity since the beginning of times.
b. A vocation is hardly taught or tested
It is often said that education is life itself, and that life is a test. Thanks to our biological structure, a certain age and event — puberty — are mandatory to become a parent. Women have to carry the offspring for approximately 9 months and surpass a very painful event when giving birth. The whole process requires a lot of sacrifices and trade-offs. In that moment, a woman’s life typically changes and her status shifts. Thinking that all this painful pregnancy process was born out of a personal choice and a passionate relationship, makes it easier than it actually is. Therefore, we may be able to say that biologically, the process of becoming a parent is already an education and a test. Furthermore, a job we love, a vocation, requires more than what can be taught theoretically. It requires passion. For instance, most of the remarkable job creators are people who build their own path, job, and tests — we call them entrepreneurs. Surprisingly, as of today, the path to entrepreneurship is still non-linear, non-conformist, and untaught; yet it is one of the most impactful jobs. Entrepreneurs build companies that set trends and impact millions if not billions of people. They are passionate enough to self-teach themselves from their own actions, mistakes, and experiences. A good number of entrepreneurs have also denoted a misfit with traditional and standardized systems. That may tell us something about passionate people who have a vocation, who do not need a test or outsiders to judge them. Thus, both — entrepreneurs and parents — are driven by passion and love. That pushes them to achieve their own best, their own way.