A few days ago we celebrated “Take Your Child to Work Day.” But when it comes to family, the crème de la crème of holidays is Mother’s Day. It’s one of the heaviest travelled weekends, besides Easter and Christmas. Mother’s Day has been commercialized like all of the other holidays in an economic environment of all-about-the-moolah. Merchants make a mint off of selling gifts, cards, flowers, and special products packaged to target Mother’s Day gift shoppers.
This Mother’s Day turns 102. Do you know how Mother’s Day was started? Here’s a bit of history. It didn’t start as Mother’s Day at all. It was founded for mourning women to remember fallen soldiers and work for peace. When the idea spread, Ann Reeves Jarvis, a women’s organizer from West Virginia championed the cause in the mid-1800s. Jarvis formed work clubs to fight disease and mortality among infants by working to reduce milk contamination and improving sanitary conditions. The Mother’s Day work clubs also helped out during the U.S. Civil War nursing wounded soldiers in the 1860s. Here’s another historical tidbit. Julia Ward Howe issued a “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870. Howe was best known for her composition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” She encouraged women to take an active and political role in promoting peace.
Jarvis was unstoppable. She established a Mother’s Friendship Day for Union and Confederate loyalists across her state. She died in 1905. This inspired her daughter, Anna Jarvis to organize the first Mother’s Day observances three years later. The first observances were held in Jarvis’s hometown of Grafton, West Virginia, in Philadelphia where she lived at that time, and in other cities. As the participating list of cities grew, in 1914, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson officially made the second Sunday in May a national holiday. Sadly, the woman who started it all and probably could have put a trademark on it (in today’s economy) and made it rich. But she died in a sanitarium with dementia and penniless.
Even though Mother’s Day traditions vary around the world, all of them involve some celebration of mothers to honor the institution of motherhood. The celebrations run the gamut from singing songs, gift-giving, and eating large feasts. The key thing to keep in mind about Mother’s Day is to honor your mother. You can do that when you make it all about her, with a healthy dose of family and fellowship. So what does one do whose mother is deceased? I remember inviting someone to a Mother’s Day event that I was hosting. Their response was, “Oh, no I can’t come. After my mother died, I never do anything on Mother’s Day.” We all have the right to decide what we want to do. But I believe we can plant a lot more goodness into the earth by doing something more than nothing. Why not honor your deceased mom’s memory by doing something that represents the values that she instilled in you? The values that can cure the ills of the world, L–O-V-E. Pay it forward, and show someone that you were thinking of them.
Whether you celebrate with a card, flowers, or a family dinner, just remember to make it special. Here’s a beautiful song, one of my favorites, by Carrie Underwood. Take a listen.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL OF THE MOTHERS AROUND THE WORLD!
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MOTHER’S DAY TIP!
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