Reordering of My Priorities Is Overdue
Circuit Judge Leah M. Lampone
(Introductory Note: Leah Lampone received her law degree from. Marquette University. After serving as a clerk in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, she served as an assistant U.S. attorney.
When she was 31 years old, in 1979, she was elected and named Circuit Judge. She once said she became a lawyer because she wanted to be something more than just "an Italian mother whos always there to wash clothes, wipe noses and cook meals." The envy of women who long to be "liberated" from home life, she recently ruled that "a reordering of my priorities is over-due" and stepped down [or up] from her role as a judge to be a full-time wife and mother. Mrs. Lampone at first temporarily left the bench when Patrick was born to her and her husband, Kevin. Now 44 years old, she wrote the following letter resigning her position altogether.
The God who made us male and female said in the long ago concerning the womans role, fulfillment, and happiness:
Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety (1 Tim. 2:14).
I will therefore that the young women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully (1 Tim. 5:14).
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed (Tit. 2:4-5).
Submitted by Ron Holbrook, 654 Gray Street, West Columbia, Texas 77486)
With the scheduled day of my return to the bench swiftly approaching, it has become increasingly clear that more important work calls me.
"With the right person elected, they ma-son, all will be well. They look to the schools to educate and instill values in their children; the social service system to feed, clothe and nurture them; the police to stop them from being victimized by out of control violence; and the courts to break the endless cycle of child neglect and crime. Unfortunately, government programs well-intentioned though they may be cannot stop the erosion."
As I write, I gaze upon my newborn son an answer to our years of prayer, unexpectedly granted late in life. Patrick is napping now, exhausted from his mornings work: viewing the world from his mothers shoulder.
He sleeps secure in the knowledge that upon his waking cry he may reclaim his rightful perch. The burden of his weight on my no-longer youthful back is lightened by the knowledge that this tender nurturing will have a lifelong impact on his perception of himself and the world around him.
My decision to leave the bench was not easily made. I hope I have served well the trust the people of Wisconsin have placed in me. Yet the job I leave has changed dramatically from that which I first undertook.
In each of my judicial assignments over the years, I have seen, heard and felt the unraveling of society palpably as a slap in the face.
Caught in the trap of lifelong welfare dependence, generations of impoverished and dysfunctional mothers - ignorant of the need for nurturance and incapable of adequate parenting - have produced children bereft of hope and vision and without the capacity for empathy for another human being. (I omit fathers here only because in many cases we see today, they have seemingly become superfluous after conception.)
In this environment, brutality and cruelty have become commonplace. Lawlessness has become blatant. Crimes are committed no longer only under cover of night, but in broad daylight without a hint of shame.
As a substitute for the structure, control and education that the family once provided, people now turn to the government. Ancient values of self-reliance and responsibility for, and to, family are seemingly dying.
With the right person elected, they reason, all will be well. They look to the schools to educate and instill values in their children; the social service system to feed, clothe and nurture them; the police to stop them from being victimized by out-of-control violence; and the courts to break the endless cycle of child neglect and crime.
Unfortunately, government programs - well-intentioned though they may be - cannot stop the erosion. We cannot be the nurturing parents that the people who come before us never had.
Faced with this reality, our job (in the court system) has become frustrating, as the Band-Aids we apply do little to halt the rapidly spreading cancer.
With these thoughts in mind, a reordering of my priorities is overdue.
Looking back upon my years as both judge and mother, I have come to realize that the greatest impact I have made in any life is that which Ive made in the lives of my own children.
I have less than another decade to spend with my Daniel (age 11) and my Michael (age 9) before they are off to their lifes adventure.
I wistfully dream of freezing time for a few years and thank the Lord for Patrick, who has his entire childhood yet ahead of us.
While I suppose I could continue as both judge and mother, at age 44, after the stress of a hard day, I doubt I could be all the mother that two young boys and an infant deserve.
Patrick calls, and hence I must close - both this letter and my career in the judiciary.
I leave with alarm at what I have seen daily. I leave with the warning that we as a culture must end the cycle of pro-creation without committing to parenting. We must do what we can to discourage dysfunctional household units, and abdication to the government of the familys role in teaching moral, spiritual and social values.
Continuation on our current course will render our courts to being little more than process centers for movement through foster homes, treatment centers and penal institutions.
Hopefully, by investing more of my time in my own home, I will look up at the end of my life to see three young men, emotionally vibrant and self-reliant, ready to face their lifes drama.
With that solid foundation, perhaps they will be better equipped to meet the challenge of putting back together the pieces of society we let crumble in our hands. (Reprinted by permission from Reminisce, January/February 1993, pp. 60-61).
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 14 p. 1