May 9, 2010

The Origins of Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day.

Numerous companies are making copious amounts of money this week because of all of the greeting cards, flowers, jewelery, and  special meals that are being purchased to help us celebrate our mothers.  That’s fine and all.  But, unfortunately, as the years have passed the original meaning and intentions behind this wonderful day have become lost in the shuffle and in the rabid frenzy to buy things. The day has sadly lost its subversiveness and radicality and become reduced to the commercial and sentimental (reminds me of what has largely happened to Christianity in the United States, but that’s another story).

Mother’s Day was originally created to help the women of this country to lobby and advocate for peace and the end of war.  In fact, there’s even a Mother’s Day Proclamation.

Women such as Julia Ward Howe, Anna Jarvis, and Anna Jarvis “Jr.” really ought to be more familiar to us.

In some ways, I feel like being a bit of a party-pooper for having the gall to remind us of the overtly radical and political origins of this special day.  I mean, there’s “nothing more American than baseball, apple pie, and mom.”  Why politicize it?

Well, because it is political.  It is radical.  It is subversive and I feel called to urge us to at least remember the origins of this day and to invite us to tap into it to truly honor this day – and our mothers and foremothers.  One way to consider doing this is to participate in the Mother’s Day for Peace event which seeks to sway our government to consider another way regarding our current war in Afghanistan.

It doesn’t have to be an “either/or.”  Let’s love our mammas – and – let’s cease our warring ways.   On this day, let us thank and recognize all of the women who have sought to raise a new generation of sons and daughters rooted in the works of peace.  Their commitment to teach and model peace is a witness to all of us, and the seed of hope for a future without war.


MaryLou’s son,


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