Mother’s Day – Another Loaded Holiday
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. What does that bring to mind for you? Visions of happy children presenting their mom with homemade cards and a breakfast of burnt toast and runny eggs? Or does it bring a pang because you lost your mother recently, or never had a child of your own? I find myself examining some of our celebrations with a different perspective. Our traditional holidays, besides being blown up into huge commercial marketing opportunities, also cause pain to many people because of our stereotypes and expectations. Personally, I have had a hard time with Valentine’s Day, for example, since I have spent more years of my life single rather than paired. Renaming it “Chocolate Day”, and celebrating with, well, chocolate has helped immensely.
Let’s look more closely at Mother’s Day. Traditionally, a mother is a person who gives birth to or adopts another person and usually has a role in raising them to adulthood. If you look a little more closely at this, then you see a mother is a person with the task of carefully nurturing a young person, physically and or emotionally. The “mother” role is teaching that person how to grow and flourish in life. The “mother” protects the young from harm, teaches them the values of the society they live in and passes along knowledge. The “mother” affirms the young person and validates their place in the world. Using this concept, our definition of a mother broadens to include any woman, man or “other” who has taken a role of nurturing the young. Can a single dad be seen as a “mother” to his children? Yes. How about a grandparent or aunt taking an active role in supporting a child? Yes, they too are being “mothers”. A scout leader or a youth pastor or a classroom teacher? Yes, yes and yes.
All of these people are at least some of the time taking on the role of mother. In conclusion, if you have a heart for children and take a little extra time to smile at them, talk to them and listen to their stories, or care for them in any way you too are a “mother”. Happy Mother’s Day!