Friday, May 08, 2009
I’m one of those mothers who love Mother’s Day. I can’t wait for the homemade gifts, the breakfast in bed drenched in syrup and sticky kisses, and it is always the day I plant my garden with my family.
But a few years ago, Mother’s Day became so much more than those wonderful sticky kisses – it became a day that I stand in solidarity with mothers around the world to demand a safe, bountiful and meaningful life for all the world’s children.
I stand side by side with Julia Ward Howe, one of our great founding mothers, who wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic and also penned the very first Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870. She called on women to “arise,” and wrote, “as men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.” She goes on to say, “Let them meet first as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace…”
Wow. That’s where Mother’s Day originated. In the courageous arms of the mothers and grandmothers of the Civil War. It wasn’t Hallmark after all.
Written at a time when our country was still healing from the ravages of war, partisanship and economic strife. She wrote this when women had no political voice or rights, and 50 years before women got the right to vote. She was truly a mother to be proud of - courageous, just, and committed to a peaceful and prosperous world for all women and their children.
So, as I am enveloped by the sweetness of Mother’s Day, I will allow myself to be pampered and cared for. But, I will also raise my voice to bring dignity to all mothers and remember the original intent of this auspicious day, when mothers were initially called to greatness by the Mother of Mother’s Day.
This spring 100+ Mother Leaders across the country will celebrate Mother's Day by signing pledge cards, collecting post cards, and meeting with their members of Congress to joyfully demand a more just and equitable world for all. To add your voice to this beautiful collaboration of mothers and others, find us at Stand for the World's Children.
Stacy Carkonen is an advocate and Mother Leader in Sumner, Washington. For more information: www.standfortheworldschildren.org
Making Mother's Day Meaningful
By Bess Hochstein
My mother has some ‘tude about Mother’s Day. I still remember her dismissively calling it a “Hallmark holiday” when I was growing up. It was a no-win situation: Even though she found the premise contrived, she’d be upset if I didn’t send a card or a gift or call her. But I doubt my mother would disparage Mother’s Day as much if she knew the holiday’s origins—to acknowledge motherhood as sacred, to reconnect to one’s family, and promote peace by helping less fortunate mothers and children around the world.More...