Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Thanks Mom

A Day for Mom

My Mother
My Mother, my friend so dear
throughout my life you're always near.
A tender smile to guide my way
You're the sunshine to light my day.
Author Unknown

I can recall being taught in my earlier days that I should love and respect my mother because you only get one in this world. To this day, I remember that free advice and do my best to follow it. My mother is 92 and blessed with a keen mind, a strong spirit, and complete independence. She is quite stubborn though I do believe one needs to be stubborn to live to 92 and beyond. Getting older and keeping one’s health is not a passive sport. That is why living a healthy lifestyle is so important beginning early in life.

We have a day in the United States called “Mother’s Day” and it is meant to be a time to stop and reflect on the blessings of having a mother. I understand and respect that not all relationships with a mother are positive. However, most are indeed not only positive, but powerful and everlasting. Mother’s Day is a celebration world- wide typically celebrated in the months of March or May and honors the mother of a family as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.

History of Mother’s Day

In the United States, the Mother’s Day celebration began in the early 20th century. It is not related to the many celebrations of mothers and motherhood throughout the world over thousands of years, such as the Greek cult to Cybele, the Roman festival of Hilaria, or the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration. Mother’s Day is celebrated by at least 40 countries on an annual basis.

According to Wikipedia, the modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in WV.  The International Mother’s Day shrine is now housed at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church. Her campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the U.S. began in 1905, the year her mother died. Her mother was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers of the American Civil War and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Ana wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers, because she believed mothers do more for you than anyone.

In 1908, the United States Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday. However, Anna Jarvis’ efforts lead to all states observing Mother’s Day by 1911 with some recognizing it as a local holiday, the first being West Virginia in 1910. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor mothers.

Early Ideas on the Roles of Mothers

I can recall in my early studies in psychology the strong emphasis placed mothers with raising children. Indeed, there was an almost overt neglect of the role of fathers, something that has now been recognized as wrong since both the mother and father are so important to children’s development. However, the role and importance of the mother in our lives cannot be overestimated.

Throughout the years the roles that mothers have assumed have varied by generation. In the early part of the 20th century mothers took on a traditional role of raising the children and fortifying the home. Today in the 21st century it is quite common to see women working as hard and as much in the workforce as men. It is also true that some women continue to choose to stay out of the workforce and to manage the home. Still others serve many roles such as employee or business owner, homemaker, and spouse. The modern day mother in the United States is incredible, but the same is true since our nation was born.

Value of Mom

You are the only one who can determine and define the value of your mom. Mothers in general provide so much that it is nearly impossible to list. Mothers first give unconditional love in big doses, care and compassion, an unending ear always present to listen, common sense, direction, support, confidence, and the ability to forgive and forget. Mothers are our biggest cheerleader and best friend. Mom knows exactly when things are not right with us and she can set us straight using some tough love, soft love, but always with love. Maybe we get all these goodies from mom because we came from mom and we are always a part of mom.

I call my mother every day and we discuss sports, family, politics, current events, her day and memories. At 92 I realize these calls are a blessing and that time on our planet is not infinite. I continue to try to live by the lesson taught me earlier in my life that we only get one mother. In some ways, Mother’s Day is really every day especially if we understand how important she is in our lives.

I hope every mother who reads this will feel appreciated, loved, and respected. You are a great person and someone so vital to your children and family. As a grown man, I am grateful to my mother, the mother of my children, and to all mothers who provide everything to us so that our lives can be filled with joy, love, and grace.

Happy Mother’s Day,

Dr. Nussbaum

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