Time for Mother’s Day

Anna Jarvis organized the first Mother’s Day celebration on May 10, 1908, in Grafton, W. V., to encourage families to honor their

My mom with her great-granddaughter.

My mom with her great-granddaughter.

mothers with simple, at-home gatherings. When the holiday began to attract commercial attention in the following years, Jarvis became upset and protested what Mother’s Day had become. She believed that it was taking away from the true intention of Mother’s Day, which was to show loving displays of gratitude for mothers and grandmothers.

The love a mother has for her children has not changed over time. Stories through the ages tell of the sacrifices mothers endured, the unconditional love that enabled some children to overcome challenging obstacles, and the miracles that followed.

Some famous mothers through time include Eve, who was the very first mother. The Bible tells the story of how she disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, and she and her husband, Adam, were banished from the Garden of Eden, their paradise. She had two sons, Cain and Abel, and had to endure the pain of childbirth and the heartbreak of losing a child, while having to accept the fact that one of her children was a murderer.

Mary was the mother of Jesus of Nazareth. She stood by him through thick and thin, even as he was ridiculed for his insistence that he was the son of God. She believed in him, even as he was crucified and died on the cross, and accepted that this was his fate, for all mankind.

Mother Teresa was made a saint for helping lepers in India. Though she had no children of her own (she had given her life to God as a nun), she was a mother to all, caring and nurturing the young, the old, and the sick. She lived in poverty, among the lepers, and taught others to be loving, generous, compassionate, and kind.

Rose Kennedy, famous mother of the president of the United States, approached her mothering duties almost like a sports team manager, keeping records of everything from kids’ dental visits down to their shoe sizes, according the John F.Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

She lived to be 104 years old, outliving four of her nine children, all of whom died in tragic circumstances. Her oldest son, Joseph, was killed in action in World War II in 1944, and her daughter Kathleen died in a plane crash four years later. John was assassinated in 1963 and Robert was assassinated in 1968.

Actress Angelina Jolie takes her role as a mother very seriously. She and actor Brad Pitt adopted four children from various countries and then had twins five years ago, bringing the total number of children to six.

But not only has Jolie had a tough role as an actress and a parent, but she made the decision to have a double mastectomy to avoid breast cancer. Her mother died of ovarian cancer in 2007 and Jolie wanted to do what she could to prevent that from happening to her.

Jolie said in Elle magazine that her daughter, Vivienne, was cast in the role of Little Aurora in the her new movie, “Maleficent,” but the stress of working with their children was almost too much, and they decided maybe that’s not the best thing for them.

And then there are the fictional mothers. TV moms like June Cleaver, Carol Brady, Roseanne Connor presented the changing roles of mothers through the decades.

June Cleaver was the mom in the TV show, “Leave it to Beaver.” Mothers then (in the 1950s) were depicted as woman who did not work outside the home and keep the house spotless, and shopped a lot. As a mother, she was pretty awesome, but almost too perfect.

Carol Brady branched out in a new role as stepmother in a blended family in “The Brady Bunch,” something that was unheard of until the 1970s. Being a mom in that situation was often hilarious, but there were some serious moments, too. Carol showed other moms in that situation how it was done.

Shirley Partridge was a single mom in “The Partridge Family,” but she showed the world she could do just fine on her own, without a man. She was both mother and father to her five children. She had it rough, especially with their lifestyle as a musical family. But the show did hit on a few lessons that could be learned by the moms in the audience.

Claire Huxtable was the mom on the “Cosby Show” in the 1980s.  Though she worked professionally outside the home, her five children were well-behaved. They had their problems, but her role as a black professional working mother helped other black women see that they, too, could work full-time and be a good mother.

Roseanne Connor showed a realistic scenario for the 1990s mom. A quick wit and a sarcastic attitude showed moms that life does not come with a handbook, and sometimes you have to improvise in order for it to work.

Moms of the new millennium are busy, busier than they have ever been. They work full-time jobs or go to school while rushing the kids to sports events, play practice, and show choir. They sit in the front row with their cell phones or video cameras capturing the moments that they can look at years later and say, “Where has the time gone?”

Mothers have an undeniable bond with their children. It is an unconditional love that stays with them until the day they die. And if we do it right, our mothers aren’t honored just one day a year, but every day.

Maybe it’s a phone call out of the blue, or a surprise delivery of flowers. Perhaps she would like a frappuccino from Starbucks (with lots of whipped cream!).  But most likely it’s the time you spend with her that matters most. Maybe just talking with her, laughing about the funny things that happened when you were little, or maybe just holding her hand and telling her that everything is going to be all right. Maybe that’s all she really wants this Mother’s Day.

Take a few moments this Mother’s Day to sit down and really talk to your mom. And don’t forget the frappuccino.

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Parent’s role is becoming even more challenging

I have taken on the duty of covering the Marion School Board meetings, which are held twice a month.

My first meeting went pretty much what I expected, similar to the Hiawatha council meetings that I attend regularly.

I found it extremely interesting, mostly because I’m a mother and grandmother, and anything eduction-related interests me.  I also attended college in the ’90s to become an elementary education teacher, and though I didn’t follow through, I have maintained a high respect for all teachers.

During the school board meeting, a mother of two Emerson Elementary students asked to address the board. She stated that she was concerned about the safety in Marion schools because of the shooting in Newtown, Conn. and suggested that a guard be posted in every school.

It made me think about how close to home the issue had become, and how it was affecting all of us, a community nearly 1,000 mile away.

As I listened to the news report, I was shocked to hear that the shooter’s mother knew he was mentally ill, but taught him how to shoot guns, anyway.

Maybe she didn’t want to admit that her son might be capable of such a horrendous act, but she should have had some idea. She was his mother, after all.

Our society is changing and so is role of a parent. Our children are exposed to many things that can have a negative affect on the way they think and behave.

The influence of violent video games, movies, television, the Internet, and social media could be changing our children’s judgement without us even being aware of it.

Some parent think it’s OK that their young children have total access to their computer and let them play violent video games that are much too sophisticated for them. They let them watch television shows and movies that could be impact the choices they make.

Some kids have their own cell phones by the time they’re 7, and many spend much of their time texting instead of talking to their parents.

Life is busy. There are more things to occupy our time and we can’t seem to find the time to spend with our children. But we have to.

Education begins at home. Teaching children what is right and what is wrong is a parent’s responsibility. Knowing who they are, what they think, who their friends are, is more important today than ever before.

So turn off the computer, iPads, television, and cell phones. Take your children to the park, to the lake, or on a bike ride. Spend time with your children, learn who they are, and start relating to them. Be the positive influence that our society desperately needs.

We can’t stop the changes that are occurring to our society, but we can adjust the way we raise our children to reflect those changes in a positive way.

This may not be the solution to the problem, but maybe it’s a start. And besides, it’s just good parenting.