MOTHERS AND THE FAMILY

“The family is a miniature commonwealth, upon whose integrity the safety of the larger commonwealth depends.” -Felix Adler, Science and Spirituality, page 138

One of my major concerns in life has to do with the strengthening of family life.  What I observe is that we have a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day but no family day in our year’s calendar.  As stated in the quotation from Felix Adler, the family is a miniature commonwealth; it is the place where children should be given a responsible start in life.  Children deserve to have two parents to help guide them, the same two parents who gave birth to them in the first place.

I realize that there are many different kinds of families at this time, but certain principles apply in terms of what works best.  Families need to be stable if they are to provide a home where children can grow up prepared to enter into the world of schooling, work life, and the eventual raising of their own children.  While mothers are the ones who give birth to the children, they also usually need the influence of another responsible adult.

Robert F. Kennedy, who was on the way to becoming President of the United States when he was assassinated, said, “In my judgment, one of the basic reasons we have crime, lawlessness, and disorder has been the breakdown of the family unit.”  I would urge all of us who are celebrating Mother’s Day to move toward emphasizing the importance of the family, and the role of the mother in making that a reality.

Carle Zimmerman, a family sociologist with whom I studied at Harvard University, did research on the family especially in Western civilization.  He said that the stability of the family runs almost parallel to the stability of the civilization as a whole.  He was very concerned about the condition of the family in our society.  He pointed out that the ideal number of children is either three or four, so that there can be interaction between them and a balance with the mothers and fathers. Through families of that size there will be opportunities for sharing and growing best as a family unit.

So as we celebrate this Mother’s Day on May 8th, may we give some thought to the importance of stable family life and its importance to itself and also for the stability and health of the society at large.

Spirit is One; paths are many!!!

~Please read it and respond if you have time and interest.

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MOTHER’S DAY AND THE MODERN FAMILY

The family is a society limited in numbers, but nevertheless a true society, anterior to every state or nation, with rights and duties of its own wholly independent of the commonwealth.

–   Leo XIII (Gioacchino V. Pecci), Science and Spirituality, p. 138

 

Mothers have a day of acknowledgement each year on the second day of May, followed the next month by Fathers Day on the third Sunday.  In most places children are not given the same acknowledgement, nor is the family. If there is to be one special time per year, it would need to be the family, since it is the family which holds all these humans together.   The mother is the one who is most associated with the family.  It is she who generally labors the most hours per day, week after week, and month after month, to perform the duties of the family and seek to keep the relations in the family harmonious.

In our diverse society, in which there are also two women or two men at the head of the family, it is important to recognize that the standard rules for past families do not always hold at the present time.  In Royce Hall at UCLA earlier this month the Southern Poverty Law Center told about their accomplishments as a body of attorneys and their associates.  The one couple that was introduced and had a chance to speak was two married women who had had a very difficult life until they were helped by the Law Center to overcome their opponents and given time to build a meaningful life of their own.

The family is generally the most intense relationship in our society.  It is there, among other reasons, to shelter the younger generation and give it a chance to grow and be supported.  It is that protective relationship that allows children to develop their talents and abilities, and then to be launched out into the world with confidence and the qualities needed to become mature adults.  The love and concern of the parents serves a most important role in being the cocoon within which children can develop.

Mother’s Day is the time to acknowledge and support the love and caring role which mothers are intended to fulfill with respect to the upcoming generation, while the traditional role of the man is to be the breadwinner.  Clearly this role is often reversed or changed in a major way from what is the traditional one, but the vast majority of families are developed in this manner.  My concern is that the family is acknowledged for its great importance in modern society, and that marriage is given recognition and a true place in keeping the family together so it can fulfill its proper function.

May this Mother’s Day be a time for increasingly valuing the family and the woman’s role in that institution.

Spirit is One; paths are many!!!