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On Mother’s Day I had the opportunity to speak to scores of mothers; I delivered a message of hope, resilience and determination. Motherhood has to be the most difficult job I have ever worked. The job is so awesome, so arduous and yet you can’t give up, you can’t throw in the towel and you cannot fail. The task is too important to give anything less than your very best. There is no one book to read, no one philosophy to follow, no magic ingredients to throw in, stir up and produce one well adjusted, successful fabulous kid.
Good parenting begins by being intentional. I do not believe that the production of an awesome child happens by accident. Start today by committing to the task. Look at parenting your children with the same determination you give your job when the boss puts a project in your lap, they expect nothing but the best, and give you a deadline. And then what usually happens? You meet the expectations and most times supersede them.
Change your perspective on parenting and you’ll change a life in the process.
When I was a younger, I was a “latch-key” kid. Both my parents worked full-time and worked extremely hard at raising me and my three brothers. I remember that it was especially hard for my mom to find time for herself just to relax. That’s why if I knew about our current “Spring Makeover” contest when I was a little girl, I would have definitely encourage my mom to enter. With today’s fast paced life style, who wouldn’t want a fun day at the spa? Hudson Valley women need a break from reality- which could be working full-time at home or away (sometimes both) and everything in between. Tell us why you want a makeover and I promise we will listen.
Mothers are special people—not angels, or saints, but special people. A prophet asks, “Can a mother forget her infant?” And the next sentence in scripture clearly implies that she could. Why did the prophet even bring up the question? He wanted to illustrate the love of God. So he pointed to the highest form of human love that he knew—the love of a mother for her baby—and then said, God’s love is even greater than that. Most of us can understand that illustration, whether we believe it or not. My guess is that, as a group, mothers are the world’s most unselfish people. They may not want to be, but they have to be. For nine months, a mother shares her body with another person. Then, with pain, she brings that other person into the world. The pain, I am told, is soon forgotten. But the problems have only begun. That mother now has on her hands a totally dependent, totally selfish little creature.
In the early years of life that little creature will have many needs, and will always demand immediate gratification. More often than not, it will be the mother who will meet those needs. For the sake of her own sanity, a mother must learn to subordinate her needs to the needs of her baby.
Some mothers never learn that lesson. They go through the years resenting and resisting the demands that are made upon them. That’s sad, both for them and their babies. Not all mothers are unselfish. No mother is unselfish all of the time, and should not be. But taken as a group, mothers must surely be the world’s most unselfish people. The prophet could think of no better way to illustrate the love of God than to compare it with the love of a mother.
So we have set aside this day to honor two people. They are not saints. They are not angels. They are people, but they are very special people. We are indebted to them. We are grateful for them. These two special people are your mother and mine.
Fr. Ray A. Pavlick, Chaplain, Castle Point Veteran’s Hospital, shown with his mother Mary a few years ago on the porch of the home they shared here in the Hudson Valley. Fr. Ray has been an ordained priest for over thirty-five years, for the last twenty years his diocese has lent his services to the U.S. Military as a Chaplain.