Mother’s Day and Motherhood

“Mother” conjures up different feelings for everyone. Let’s strive for the ideal.

Effective communication is desirable and necessary. Very few people are good at it. We all see the world through our own paradigm and it’s difficult to escape even when we are aware of it. Every one of us thinks we see the world as it is, but in reality, we see the world as we are.

Even a single word can mean many different things to different people, as in the word: DOG. As soon as you read that, a visual and an emotional association came to your mind. Some pictured a black lab, others a collie, or a pug, or blue-healer. Some of us grew up with dogs that were family members and companions; others with dogs who were co-workers and life-savers, (i.e. service or rescue dogs); and for others, who may have been violently attacked or witnessed the attack of another, the word DOG conjures up deep-felt fear and anxiety. Every one of those responses is valid. None is right or wrong. They just differ (widely) depending upon our own personal experience with dogs. So if the word dog can create such varied associations and meanings and visuals, imagine how difficult it is as a communicator to use the word dog and have an audience understand your intended message. It ain’t easy.

So let’s go to what is in all probability, the single most emotionally-charged word in all the English language: MOTHER. Why is that so? First of all, we ALL have one. Nothing else is so utterly universal. Every person who has ever lived on the earth came here via a mother. Each of us is the result of the fertilization of a sperm from a male and an egg from a female, and our mother’s body is what brought us here. That’s a fact. That’s the science. But it’s not the emotion. Some of us may not have ever met our mothers, some of us have or had wonderful mothers, and some of us have or had horrible mothers; but we all have one.

It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday. It’s a tough day for many. Tough for some because their mothers let them down. Tough for others because they long to be mothers and can’t. Tough even for others because they are mothers, but feel they aren’t good at it. Tough for some because they’ve done their best, but aren’t valued for it. That word MOTHER and it’s attached associations run the gamut. It’s a tough topic to address, but I’ll never shy away from it – because I love mothers. I support and appreciate mothers. I highly value the role of mothers. And it troubles me to see mothers and motherhood bastardized and minimized in today’s current culture.

J. Reuben Clark stated: “Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels.”

Joseph F. Smith: “It is not for you to be led by the women of the world; it is for you to lead the…women of the world, in everything that is praise-worthy; everything that is God-like, everything that is uplifting and that is purifying to the children of men.

Let France have good mothers, and she will have good sons.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

And Elder Bruce C. Hafen said, “Women have always lifted entire cultures.

Additionally, President Harold B. Lee taught “A mother’s heart is a child’s schoolroom. The instructions received at the mother’s knee…are never effaced entirely from the soul…Family life is God’s own method of training the young, and homes are largely what mothers make them.

I am grateful for my own mother and for everything I learned at her knee and at her side and from watching her from afar when she didn’t even know I was watching. I am grateful to be a mother. I ache for those of you who’ve had absent, or alcoholic, or addicted, or selfish, or immature, or inadequate mothers. Your hurt must run deep. But let’s not run from the ideal. Let’s strive for it instead. Let’s celebrate whatever portion of it our moms had, and do our best to overlook what they didn’t. And then let’s do our best to build on whatever we had and make it better, without beating ourselves or others up when even our best efforts aren’t anywhere near perfect.

Because motherhood matters and it always will. And good mothering probably matters more now than ever before.

To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. To be a righteous woman during the winding-up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times.

— President Spencer W. Kimball

William Ross Wallace (1819-1881)

BLESSINGS on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace.
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy’s the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mothers first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow—
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Woman, how divine your mission,
Here upon our natal sod;
Keep—oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky—
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world

Supplemental reading:

The Moral Force of Women” – Elder D. Todd Christofferson, October 2013

A Plea to My Sisters” – Elder Russell M. Nelson, October 2015

The Role of Righteous Women” – Spencer W. Kimball, October 1979

You can follow Drexel on Twitter @DrexelGuzy.

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