Filed Under:  OpEd, Opinion

Honoring mothers

12th May 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Edmund W. Lewis

Mother’s Day is a holiday set aside to honor and celebrate the women who gave us life. In the days, weeks and months after this year’s special day, the women who ushered us into the world and were our first teachers should still be enjoying a place of honor and reverence in our lives. While it is important to pause collectively every May to pay tribute to the women in our lives, it is even more important to live our lives in a way that honors them daily.

No one has the power or authority to dictate to us when or how we celebrate our mothers.

In the spirit of celebrating mothers as the givers of life and the first teachers, there are many things we can do to demonstrate our love, respect for and appreciation of mothers. Some of them are listed below:

• Don’t wait for Mother’s Day to show mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers how much you love, admire and appreciate them. Use random and deliberate acts of kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness to convey to the women in your life how much they mean to you. It could be something as simple as inviting them over for a cup of coffee, taking them out for a drive on the lake or through City Park, helping them to plant flowers or perform some other home project, or taking them out for dinner and a movie. What matters most is that you let them know they hold a special place in your heart.

• Tell your mother, grandmother and great-grandmother how much you love them in no uncertain terms. Many of us have a hard time saying “I love you” to the special people in our lives but this is often one of the greatest regrets people have when those we love pass away. Tomorrow is not promised. Tell the people you love how much you love them today.

• Remember that “you only get one.” Although many of us often have a number of women who extend their motherly love to us, there is only one mother who ushers each of us into the world and provides us with the kind of safety and unconditional love in the womb that we associate with heaven. We should always respect and honor our mothers and avoid treating them in a manner that brings them pain and sadness.

A college classmate of mine told me several years ago that she had no idea how badly she had hurt her mother with her actions. Although her mother was a widow, she did very little to comfort her and when she did do something for her, she did it begrudgingly. This hurt her mother deeply. In contrast, this woman often had her father-in-law, who recently lost his wife, over for dinner. Although her own mother lost her husband nearly two decades ago, my former classmate had never invited her own mother over for dinner. The profundity of what she had done did not hit her until her mother passed away. By then it was too late for her to make amends.

Holding on to grudges and resentment of our mothers only diminishes us in the eyes of God and increases the distance between us and the Creator. Honoring one’s mother, after all, is one of the 10 commandments listed in the Christian bible.

• Take the time to get to really know your mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Oftentimes we take a lot for granted about our loved ones. Take the time to become better acquainted with these special women by spending quiet time with them and asking them questions about the lives they led, their experiences growing up and the things they are most proud of. These women are the cornerstone of your family and should be viewed and treated as such. Take the time and make the effort to learn about their stories, triumphs and regrets.

• Treat all women with respect and insist that everyone you know respects the dignity and abilities of all women. In addition to holding doors open for women, we need to do a better job of respecting the minds and opinions of women. We should also speak up and act accordingly when we hear and/or see others calling women derogatory names, physically abusing women or creating songs, images or films that denigrate women and reduce them to sexual playthings.

By honoring all women, we honor the mothers who carried us for nine months and ushered us into this world.

• Respect life. We need to do a better job of respecting all human life and treating all human beings like the gifts they are. There are no throwaway people and what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do to honor not only our mothers but the Creator as well. Respecting life includes loving one another as we love ourselves, sharing what we have with others and doing what we can to reduce the suffering of those around us.

• Stop the killing. The greatest offense one can commit against a mother is to take the life of her child, whether that child is 10 or 41. Every human being that is murdered is somebody’s baby, somebody’s grandbaby, somebody’s treasure. Before taking a human life, we should stop and reflect about all of the lives that will be devastated by the loss of that life. Extinguishing a life eliminates an entire universe of possibilities and diminishes all of us.

As the givers of life, mothers should be honored and their life-giving ability should be viewed as sacred by all. Because of their love, strength, courage and selflessness, mothers should be celebrated and honored every day, not simply on Mother’s Day.

Tell the women who raised you and taught you how to live and love, “For all the things you’ve done for me over the course of my life, I love you and I thank you.”

This article originally published in the May 12, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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