The important role of mothers

“Mom” may be a person, which is a noun, but a more accurate descriptor of her is a verb. Anyone who describes his or her mother tells what she does, and this list is nearly endless. She makes an indelible mark on both her children and the strength of society through her continuous acts of love and service in the family and the lessons learned from her that are carried forward to the next generations.

Mother’s Day, a day set aside to honor mothers, has its origins in the early 1900s from a woman named Ann Jarvis. However, Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the lyrics to “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” wrote a proclamation in 1870 to call attention to the important role of mothers. An abolitionist reacting to the recent bloodshed of the Civil War, she understood how well mothers teach charity and mercy. Like so many, she also understood how “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” What collectively happens in the cradle and home has more impact than any congress. Motherhood is truly a vocation that builds the foundation on which families and society stand.

Children of all ages, particularly if asked to really think about it, realize how much their mothers do for them and how important they are. Although not expressed often enough, no mother should feel underappreciated as evidenced by some recent, but anonymous sentiments shared by several children.

An older child in her early 20s spoke of the sacrifices made by her mother. In part, she shared, “Over the past few years, I have been learning, understanding, and feeling the extreme importance of family like never before. I have come to realize how much my grandma and grandpa really did love each other and how much they valued the togetherness of family. I marvel at the effort my mom put into traveling each summer to visit them and our cousins. What a great time of life. I see the sacrifices and hard work of her parents, which qualities are clearly found in my mother as well. As time goes on, my eyes are opened wider and wider to all the sacrifices she made for my siblings and me. While passing through different stages of life, I realize how difficult things are at times. She and Dad never stop giving and always shower us with love (sometimes tough love), even when we don’t recognize or acknowledge it.”

This same older child also shared how mothers rarely receive in return what they give. In part, she said, “I am sorry how selfish I was in the past. I think of all those times she would tuck me in and scratch my back. When she’d ask for a back scratch, I often said, ‘No’ because I was too tired or didn’t want to do it. How selfish of me, after all she did for me and I couldn’t even take a minute to do that. I’m sorry.” Back to a more serious note, she expressed how while walking through a bookstore was reminded of her mother when she saw a picture of Mary with Christ. “She raised her son in truth and light. She had faith even when times were tough and didn’t understand the ‘why.’ My mother is like this. I love her so much. I wish to say to her, ‘Thank you for bringing me into this world and raising me in the light. You’re my shining light.'”

Another adult child shared similar sentiments about his mother with, “As I branch out on own, the more I realize how much she did for me growing up. I miss the nice dinners at home, the warmth of our house, and most of all her love. I am lucky to have my parents together and especially a loving mother. I thank her for being there for me, especially in my sad moments. She always put other peoples’ needs before her own. I love my mother so much.”

Younger children also have touching and sometimes humorous thoughts about their mothers. One girl said her mother did not need a Mother’s Day because she loves her mom all year round. She loves when her mom sings and jokes in the car. She appreciates how her mother teaches her by not giving answers, but hints and lets her figure things out. Another youngster likes how her mother waits for her to get off the bus and asks how her day went. Going out for ice cream and shopping is awesome. Other thoughts shared are times spent together camping, vacationing, and going out to dinner on Friday nights and lessons learned such as using money wisely, not to lie, and to be responsible. Moms tucking children into bed, making sure teeth are brushed, and taking care of them when sick is valued, so kids know they should return a favor by cleaning their bedrooms to make their mothers happy.

Children seem to recognize their mother’s talents. One noted that her mom is a great gardener that plants beautiful flowers and always has her gloves when she goes outside. She also is the best cook in the world and makes the best cupcakes that are so soft and delicious. Another talent is being a “best friend” through the ups and downs of life and another mom is appreciated for making sure the family sits down at the dinner table as a family each night. Humor is another talent and children like it when their mothers try to sing songs without knowing all the right words. Kids see their moms as “multi-taskers” who are able to do several things at once, which is a universal talent for the typical mom.

Motherhood is one the highest and most honorable callings in life. As pointed out in a text by D. McKay, a woman can paint a masterpiece and write a book that influences millions, yet she who successfully raises children, “exerts an influence throughout the ages long after paintings have faded and books have decayed.” She creates a little taste of heaven on earth and as one child shared, she inspires me to “be the best I can be.”

Make it a good week and give thanks for the influential women in your life. In the words of Henry Ward Beecher, “When God thought of Mother, he must have laughed with satisfaction, and framed it quickly so rich, so deep, so divine, so full of soul, power, and beauty, was the conception.”

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