Friday, May 9, 2014

What Mothers really want

What does your mother really want?
If you’re a loving son or daughter, it’s probably a question you’ve been asking yourself lately, while shopping for Mother’s Day gifts. And if you’re a really good, loving son or daughter, it’s something you’ve probably been pondering since you were old enough to ponder.
Not that the best of us haven’t had our arguments and disagreements with our parents. Even Jesus and Mary had some differing opinions about things like when it was appropriate for the child Jesus to go off and confer with scholars, apparently without telling his parents. Or when it was okay for Jesus to start turning water into wine at a wedding.
So it’s certainly not surprising that we lesser mortals often are not always fully enlightened about what our moms want.
But I’ve lived long enough to know what moms want for their kids.
The best.
We may not always agree on what that is. What our moms want for us, and what those of us fortunate enough to become moms and grandmoms want for their own kids and grandkids, is often colored by our own journeys in life.
If we’ve had a tough time, we want better things for our kids, and ways to give it to them.
But I’ve spent enough time among the super rich and privileged to know that there are some enlightened souls who realize there is a balance; that too much, too soon — with too little accountability and parental attention — can be as destructive to the soul of child as the ravages of poverty, discrimination and neglect.
And I’ve done enough volunteer work and reporting in the field to know that child abuse is invariably a vicious circle: virtually every child abuser I’ve ever encountered has himself or herself been the victim of abuse as a child — emotionally or physically and usually both, often exacerbated by drug abuse or mental illness rooted in childhood abuse. Wherever you stand on the nature vs. nurture debate, it’s clear to me that both good and evil deeds and impulses can be nurtured or thwarted by our beginnings in life, by the ways our moms were loved and cared for, and the way they love and care for us.
I am thankful that whatever ordeals suffered on a tough planet, most moms manage to transcend and be their sterling soul selves, most of the time. And that most children recognize that, and manage to forgive and move on when mistakes are made, as they inevitably are.
This Mother’s Day, I’ve been pondering what I want most for Mother’s Day, and I realize that I would happily forgo all personal presents past, present and future — and I’ll bet most moms would agree — if we could somehow work together to give the basics to every child on the planet: shelter, food, clothing, health care and education.
That could be enough to occupy us for a generation, and this generation of thoughtful millennials might just be the ones to finally pull it off.
There’s a lot to do in each category. We need to clean up the environment and come up with sustainable strategies to maintain it and grow the healthy food we need for health.
Education is crucial to so much of what makes life worth living, as is the wisdom to know that we need arts and ethics, poetry and music, and philosophy and literature, as well as technology and science. Maybe if we all devoted a little more time to the meaning of life, we’d naturally find ways every day to make our lives mean more.
That’s why I’m concluding that what loving moms — and dads — want for their kids could be the key to real happiness and meaning in all of our lives.
We want the best for our kids, and grandkids and great-grandkids. If we could make that our priority, for everybody’s kids everywhere in the world, for a generation, a decade, or even a year, I wonder what changes we would see in the world.
I know that’s what I want for Mother’s Day this year.
Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere, and the best for our children.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at, @Derrickson Moore on Twitter or Tout or call 575-541-5450.

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