Mother’s Day is not all pink carnations and burnt toast made by your children for breakfast in bed, thought I love that! It’s important to realize that for lots of people, Mother’s Day is a tough one for many painful reasons. (For example, please don’t ask all mothers in your church to stand; you’ll leave out those with infertility issues yet again). No matter your mothering circumstances, we can remember that Mother’s Day in its original creation was not a holiday about honoring motherhood in itself. Mother’s Day was originally a rallying cry to honor our mothers by working for peace and public health. The great women’s rights activist, Julia Ward Howe, first championed a mother’s day for peace, and its eventual founder, Anna Jarvis, boycotted Mothers’ Day once it was picked up by the card companies as a sentimental money-maker. Jarvis thought we should write a hand-written thank you note to our mothers, and then take care of the children in our own neighborhoods in her honor. These women were prophets cajoling our country not only to appreciate our mothers, but to emulate them in caring for all people.
So when I told the weekly story to the preschoolers in church this week, in honor of Mothers’ Day, I told them about Jochabed, the boldest, bravest, most kick-butt mother ever. In Exodus chapter 2 we learn that Moses’ mother found herself in an untenable situation, living where her baby was not safe. She risked his life and her own by offering him for adoption, which secured his future and his place in God’s plan. When he was adopted, Moses’ sister worked out a way for Jochebed to stay with him as his wet nurse. “Moses had two mothers!” one of the children shouted with delight. Yes! I answered. For every child, it takes at least two mothers, dads, grandparents, neighbors, teachers, and friends, to give that child safety, health, and opportunity. Our UTPB early childhood program, First 5, is leading the way for our community to surround the 47% of young children believed to be developmentally at risk on Ector County. We can help out by taking care of the children in our neighborhoods- learning their names, saying hello, and maybe even bringing by some kid-friendly dinner as a surprise to mom would be a great start.
This Mother’s Day, let’s join Julia, Anna, and Jochebed in this movement that honors our mothers by saying, Whether we’re raising them or not, they are all our children!