For their first album, Fastball recorded a song that explored the problems of a young man to be courageous and to deal with his life in a fashion that would make his mama proud, because to do otherwise would be to kill himself literally or figuratively. The implication of the song is that being brave and courageous is making your mother proud. While I am not and will never be a mother (obviously), I would like to think that it is not very complicated to think of the things that make most mothers proud. Seeing children grow up into successful adults who can hold down jobs, make loving families of their own, and serve institutions like churches as well as the local community. Most parents are not shy in communicating to their children what would make them proud, either implicitly or explicitly, and if we children do not always make our parents proud, we usually have a good idea of what would do so.
Yesterday I watched a sermon webcast online where the speaker commented that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. This particular line of poetry, a refrain in the poem, is something that has the air of cliche. But it is no less true for being a cliche. Parents have an incredible influence, for better and for worse, on the success of their children. Yet the pro forma recognition that parents (and mothers in particular) have a vital role in raising children who will eventually run the world has not tended to lead to the sort of behavior that provides respect and honor in the eyes of others. Children with parents who care about their children’s education will do better than children whose parents do not care. Does that lead parents to have respect within the education system? Not necessarily. Throughout history it was not considered important that many women be educated, and that has certainly hindered the seriousness that women have been treated with.
How is it that people normally celebrate Mother’s Day? Today, for example, I chatted with my mother online and on the phone while visiting the home of some friends and relatives and enjoying far too much food, much of which was made by the hostess herself, as is frequently the case. It is not as if many mothers or wives can take off any days completely, as there is generally always something that needs to be addressed even on a day that is at least nominally considered as a day of rest. Let us hope at least that many mothers do not resent such things even if it is easy to joke about the minimal nature of the favors that are often granted to mothers on this day. Is it a favor to get take-out or delivery from a restaurant given that this year it has been impossible to go out in many places? Is it a favor to get coupons from one’s children that have expiration dates and thus may never be used? Is it a favor to have one’s children wait until 7AM to wake one up instead of at 5:30AM like usual? Much depends on what makes a mother proud, I suppose.