Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is a celebration honouring mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.

The celebration of Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May first happened in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia. Anna had started her campaign in 1905 to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States.  Her intent was to honour her own mother and for everyone else to honour their mother, “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”  In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honour mothers.

Mothers are possibly the most important factor in the moulding of character and establishment of lifetime values in children. Values and attitudes such as honesty, kindness, patience, and hard work often get passed down, simply through example and experience.

Most of the famous leaders of history have had good, God-fearing mothers.

The mother of the first President of the United States, George Washington, was pious, and the mother of Scottish poet and novelist, Sir Walter Scott, was well-steeped in poetry and music. In contrast, it is believed that the mother of the Roman Emperor, Nero, was a murderess; legend has it that Nero was playing his fiddle while Rome burned in a great fire, a fire some say he himself started in order to be able to re-build the centre of Rome. Nero murdered his own mother, his first wife and, apparently also, his second wife.

Mothers are most critical in the development of younger children as they are protector, provider, and guide. Children grow their sense of security and stability through their mother.

But what is possibly not well understood or recognised is the critical role of fathers, particularly in the teen years of their children. Fathers help children grow up with a sense of adventure, confidence, and steadfastness – critical qualities that children require to face a future that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Children need to learn to think for themselves, stand their ground against negative influences, and grow into independent adults. 

Children grow best into well-balanced adults when they have both the protection of mothers and the encouragement of fathers at home. Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May is a day to honour our mother for their love and sacrifice, and Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June is to honour our father for their courage and resilience.

May we always remember to honour our mothers and fathers through our words and actions! 

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