Monday, 12 May 2014

Does it work?

Last night as I was watching the news I saw one story about Mothers Day activities in my country and another story about attitudes towards girls and women in another country. I am not a huge fan of special days but I began thinking about what they achieve.

What does Mothers Day achieve? Is it just a huge marketing opportunity designed to sell, sell, sell? Or is it really for recognising that mothers perform valuable roles and deserve more respect? Does Mothers Day bring the family closer? Is it sentimental nonsense? Pink and fluffy images instead of character building reality? Mothers Day actually does achieve something very important I believe. If I look at places and cultures that do not have Mothers Day I see something less in the way women are treated, less respect than in the other places.

Yes, I do know that Mothers Day is a product of our culture, our religion, and our politics. But put it in a different cultural setting and I think it would still work.

If Mothers Day was celebrated in Nigeria, would Boko Haram still regard the education and nurturing of children as worthless? Would the value placed on girls and women be different? If Mothers Day was celebrated in Pakistan, Iraq, and other Arab countries would some of the terrorist bombing slow down? Would there be more thought given to who is injured or killed? If Mothers Day was celebrated in the Ukraine would the political unrest there be different?

I think all these could well happen. I do not think Mothers Day is a threat to any religion. Buddhist, Taoist, Moslem, Jew, and Christian all value compassion and kindness. Violence does not hold hands with Mothers Day.

I think Mothers Day causes us to stop and think, to question our feelings towards our mothers. This then flows on to a greater understanding of the lives of others. We then feel less like the centre of the universe and more like one small part of something bigger.

When I look at these photos of some of the mothers in my family I know that these women are valued highly, not just as reproduction machines, but as intelligent compassionate people. They handle challenges and overcome them, speak different languages, travel to far places, run businesses, and love. They do not all live in the same country but they do all live in a society that values them.

So yes, I think Mothers Day really does work. Mothers Day achieves a lot more than a smile in the heart of dear old Mum.

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