Forget The Flowers
I like to receive flowers as much as the next person, especially pretty tulips, not that anyone cares. Flowers aren’t what Mother’s Day is about, though. Ditto candy, gifts or even breakfast in bed, although I must say that breakfast in bed is a very nice touch … very nice.
However pleasant the tokens of recognition are, however, Mother’s Day is about more than appreciation. Mother’s Day is about action – or it should be.
Julia Ward Howe is often credited for the creation of Mother’s Day, as she issued a stirring call to mothers to demand peace in 1870 and tried unsuccessfully to get formal recognition of a Mother’s Day for Peace. A woman named Ann Jarvis who organized women to work for better sanitation during the Civil War inspired Howe. Jarvis’ daughter in West Virginia celebrated the first official Mother’s Day there in 1907 or 1908. Woodrow Wilson declared it a national holiday in 1914 … and it’s been in decline ever since, as far as I can tell.
Here in the U.S., we mothers rarely use Mother’s Day as the rallying cry it was intended. We don’t, for example, use the day to draw together into the most powerful force of influence our nation has ever seen and demand that you idiotic little boys behave. No. We eat the burned toast and shy from organizing to shape the next generation’s policies. We accept the foibles of our sons, letting them grow into bullies and pirates, cannon fodder and killers. We suck.
We can do better. We can raise better. We can demand better.
The first step in transforming the world via the proverbial cradle is to think about what we really want the world to be like. What are our values? Are we living them? What would a better world for our children and grandchildren look like? Are we raising our kids to help us make that vision a reality? These are the things we must ponder. I am pondering them this Mother’s Day.
For now, let me tell you this: I don’t want flowers for Mother’s Day. I want:
- world peace
- universal health care
- end to world hunger and homelessness
- flexible working arrangements for families
- quality, affordable child care and after-school care at all levels
- equalization of Social Security credits for spouses
- addition of unpaid household labor to the Gross Domestic Product
- child allowances for all families so that children are adequately supported
- better education
- work-related social insurance programs for all workers, whether they work in the workforce or as unpaid caregivers …
I could go on.
What do you want for Mother’s Day?