This I Believe

Robert - Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Entered on May 2, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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If Not For Moms

If not for moms, I wouldn’t be here to write this and you wouldn’t be here to read it. This statement of the obvious aside, consider the roles mothers play in our lives, and indeed the world we live in. When we do that, simply loving them and appreciating them will seem wholly inadequate.

Before we are born, mothers provide us with a safe, comfortable, yet cramped environment. They nourish us without thought or hesitation. After we are born, they continue to nourish and protect us, through an invisible umbilicus. They’re there to teach us, to mend our hurts, and to instill the beginnings of our belief systems. They tell us the truth, generally, and show us how to take care of others.

While they may not be particularly nosy, mothers don’t miss much. As Spanky said in the Little Rascals, “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool Mom!” Even when our mothers are not around, our moral compasses set by them guide our subliminal conscience.

As we grow, they continue to take care of us, both emotionally and physically. Though relations may become strained, their love is almost always unconditional and complete. As young men grow older, they look to their mothers for examples of what they want in their own partners. As young women grow older, they often find themselves mimicking their mothers, a silent and subtle tribute to their influence.

Of course, there are other influences, and for some, they redefine the person. Some of these influences breed fear, mistrust and hatred. We are not born with these traits, and most mothers don’t foster them, at least in the early days of our lives. In some cultures, mothers’ views can become subjugated to the political mores, which may cause them to sacrifice their children in the name of martyrdom, and in so doing, sacrifice their own motherhood.

In world affairs, though women can be as tough as nails, they often show a tenderness that portends motherhood, demonstrating patience and a willingness to understand, yet a resoluteness to stand up for what is right. It’s difficult to imagine a mother as a dictator, but easy to imagine one as a fair and humane leader.

Several years ago, my wife and I had the privilege of being recognized and honored by President George W. Bush (when he was still popular) for our volunteer work. When I introduced my two sons to him, he issued an Executive Order to them, which was to me a most profound message: “Listen to your mother.” If only we could get world leaders to take heed!