Thursday, May 9, 2019

Mothers Matter

Words name things, sometimes people. Words include the way to bring to mind an idea. It’s a symbol of what the word means. Without the word, we don’t have a way to convey the meaning from one person’s mind to another’s.

I love being Mom to these characters.
This was in Idaho in 1992.

There’s a song our Primary kids—the children at church from ages 3-12—sing around Mother’s Day. It’s starts out, “I know a name,” and eventually reveals “it is the name of Mother.”

About a week ago, I saw a piece regarding the erasure of the word mother: “Why Eliminating The Word ‘Mother’ Eliminates Motherhood Itself,” by Libby Emmons, for The Federalist. The title, and that concept, struck me. 

Emmons tells us it’s happening in laws around the world that are trying to replace motherhood with something more generic, to placate the LGBTQ community. A small, sometimes miniscule minority that denies the reality that each person is made up of the DNA of a male and female parent is trying to erase the concept of mother.

In the UK, it’s self-ID laws. In order to accommodate transgenders, they allow pretend (transgendered) “male” persons who have given birth to identify themselves as “father” on the baby’s birth certificate. Meanwhile, “mother” on the form is left blank. In other words, “mother” isn’t necessary to the birth of a baby.

In France, school districts do away with fathers and mothers, and just identify them as parent 1 and parent 2—leaving it to the male and female (or whatever) to decide who gets designated first.
In the piece, Libby Emmons says,

When we use the term mother, we invoke a shared perspective on what that word means, what it represents, what it looks like. Whether our mother was brilliant or rotten, loving or cruel, we can envision a shared ideal of a mother precisely because we have a shared history of the concept of mother.
Then she asks the question,

If we don’t have the word for mother, will the concept still exist? If so, for how long?
Do enough people understand the danger of a world without the idea of motherhood?

our boys, getting acquainted with sheep, at San Diego Zoo, 1989
This past Sunday I was teaching Sunday School, considering some things about lambs and sheep in John chapter 10. As part of that I shared a talk from the early 90s, by Jayne B. Malan, called “Summer of the Lambs.” Worth hearing again. I think it was once published in written form in Reader’s Digest. Anyway, Jayne, as a 12-year-old, had been assigned, along with her 14-year-old brother, to care for several hundred motherless lambs. It was hard work. They lost about two-thirds to starvation or predators. The most vulnerable were those that wandered off and got separated. Most of them would have grown up safe, if their mothers had been there.

That’s the way with lambs. And the way with children. They need mothers. And fathers too.
We’re about to celebrate mothers, this Sunday. It can be a hard day for mothers, who feel so much pressure to meet the “shared ideal of a mother,” simply because they love their family and believe they deserve that perfection, while mothers are also keenly aware of their own mortal limitations.
In honor of Mother’s Day, a couple of years ago, I compiled a Motherhood Collection of blog posts I’ve written. I think that’s still worth sharing: here

In hopes of helping mothers feel like they are enough, I’d like to share this video from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called “You Are Enough.”

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