Today, many people celebrate and honour their mothers. I am grateful for my own mom and her strength and sense of fun. I am grateful for her faith in me even when I doubt myself. I am grateful for her willingness to help her children in whatever situations we face. I am grateful for her unconditional love.
I realize that I am fortunate to have this relationship. For many others, today is a painful day. For some it highlights loss, trauma, strained relationships, broken relationships, or an inability to have children. There are adults and children alike who find this day difficult.
I think of the students in my own school … the grade five student whose mom died when she was in Kindergarten … the student whose mother is an addict and hasn’t seen her son for years … those students in foster care who have vague memories of their biological mothers but often painful or traumatic ones … and the many students who, simply put, do not have positive relationships with their mothers. Sadly, this reflects the reality in most schools. There are kids around the world in these circumstances.
Is Mother’s Day then something we should avoid so as not to offend? Is Mother’s Day passé? No, I don’t believe so.
In our school, as Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) approach, we encourage our students to honour someone important in their lives. It doesn’t have to be a mother in the traditional sense of the word. But this day provides an opportunity for discussion about the diversity of family dynamics and also helps to instill an empathy and sensitivity for those whose circumstances are not necessarily positive. Often, it is through these discussions that students learn to appreciate what they do have a little more. Often, it is through these discussions that our school families grow a little closer. Often, it is through these discussions when students inspire me with their words of support to their peers.
Mother’s Day is not passé. It simply needs to be approached with awareness and sensitivity.