Children are a gift, but that doesn't make rearing them any easier while doing what you need to do to keep the roof over your head from leaking, the food on your plate hot and nutritious, and also trying to ensure an even better life by working or studying.
A mom in Israel brought her baby to a graduate school class at Jerusalem's Hebrew University when it started to cry during a lecture on organizational behavior. The mom got up to leave, but professor Sydney Engelberg wouldn't let her. Instead, he took the baby in his arms and calmed it while continuing on with class as if nothing happened.
Engelberg, 67, has been teaching for 45 years, and his daughter explained that, as a teacher for a master's degree program, he's used to older students, and as a dad and grandfather of five, he's used to kids. In fact, he encourages students who are parents to bring their babies to class.
Engelberg's choice to not just tolerate, but also advocate for babies in class should be an inspiration to other teachers and employers.
Engelberg's wife told Yahoo that the gesture was no big deal, and that his family finds the fact that the photo went viral after a student snapped it and posted it online "very funny. I think it must have happened on a no-news day."
At a time when more moms are struggling for equal pay and a semblance of real work-life balance, the "no-news" gesture is actually a pretty significant one, showing that it's possible to shut down an entire debate that students and employees can't possibly manage to have family and a career when in fact they can—that is, if they have some acknowledgement and assistance from those in a position of power.
A crying baby can surely be a hindrance. Although sometimes all you need to do is pick up the baby and move on. It can be complicated or simple—and who wouldn't prefer simple?
Engelberg's choice to not just tolerate, but also advocate for babies in class should be an inspiration to other teachers and employers. Allowing flexibility in classrooms and offices needn't be such an arduous conversation and process. The wheel hardly needs to be reinvented; acknowledging and accommodating the worth of people with different life situations is more likely to bring out the best student/worker/person in them than pretending their life outside of your peripheral view isn't worthwhile.
"The reason is that education for me is not simply conveying content, but teaching values," he said to Yahoo Parenting. "How better than by role modeling?"