The month of May. In addition to a time when we see the flowers in bloom, fruit trees budding, birds migrating as they pause to grace us with their songs and beauty, it is also the perfect time to pause and to recognize the accomplishment of women and their many roles. One critical role we must never forget, and should always recognize, is the role of motherhood.
It is still one of the oldest and greatest professions on earth.
There is a lot to the old adage, “Your mother will be there for you no mat-ter what.” And usually mothers are, unless there are some extenuating cir-cumstances, like physical or mental illness, extreme drug or alcohol addic-tion or, too often, misplaced priorities.
But mothers – those who choose the role or accept the role thrust upon them – so often carry the burden of being the glue that keeps it all together, whether it is a traditional family, a hybrid or extended family.
So including motherhood among the accomplishments to be honored is only fitting. So let us recognize young mothers, older mothers, those mothers in between, and those no longer with us. We should also commend the women who have taken on the role of surrogate mother, or mother of a child irrespective of his or her color, origin, language, or place of birth.
Dare I suggest that honoring and appreciating motherhood, in all its complexity, its beauty, its pain, its challenges and its fulfillment, should be an ongoing affair because the career of motherhood never ends for those who truly accept the responsibility?
Motherhood has always been one of the toughest jobs on earth. And today, with all the forces tugging at both mothers and children, in many respects, the job is tougher.
Mothers, who hope to have a realistic chance of nurturing another human being into one with good values, a good sense of self, compassion, and concern for one’s neighbor, one’s community, and the betterment of mankind, face some ominous challenges – from infancy to young adulthood. So often, where there exist good conditions and good options for children, there are just as many negative ones lurking nearby.
Good and bad influences exist from the playgrounds to what is brought into the family room by television, and the Internet in higher degrees and multiple doses. In the past, mothers only worried about their child’s un-timely exposure to things like sex, and drugs. Now, there is the specter of guns, random abductions, sexual exploitation, and other acts of wanton violence perpetrated by crazed adults and children alike that cannot be ignored.
It seems that with most human advancement comes the opportunity to also advance the base within us. Let us take television for example. Yes, we can get more channels, and more educational programming that is good for children and adults. But, we also have, along with incredible channel access by satellite and cable, profanity that is more blatant, unprecedented nudity and sex – all for children to hear and see. The Internet also has its good and bad sides with chat rooms, Facebook, and other social media that is used to the detriment of our children.
One is forced to ask, what are we doing as a society to support the ef-forts of motherhood? Support means more than making sure children are physically fed, clothed, and housed. What responsibility do we share to do things that reinforce exposing and cultivating good values in chil-dren, strong work ethics, and respect for another person, one’s commu-nity, and the sanctity of human life?
Motherhood cannot be successful in a vacuum. Our mothers and grand-mothers knew that. And they shared the responsibility in rearing not only their children, but also their neighbor’s children. Back then, there may not have been much in the way of technology, but reinforcement and respect for the job of rearing children abounded.
For those of us who benefited from that practice of shared responsibility of motherhood would do well to remember and carry it on.
In many respects, and in spite of all of our advancements in many, many areas, the job of motherhood has gotten much tougher. And the African proverb that, “It takes a village to raise a child,” is more relevant and more needed than ever.