Growing up, my mom and sister set a lot of the tone. My dad was present but worked multiple jobs; thus, most of my first years were spent hanging out with them. My first best friends were moms to me. Thanks be to moms.
When I was a teen, my mom and sister were in social work. While my friends and peers grappled with the difficulties of teen hood, daily at the dinner table I would hear the incredible challenges of the destitute, orphans, homeless, foster care, abuse, neglect, and worse. I never had the chance to think gravely on my tiny problems of adolescence and coming-of-age. I didn’t have the opportunity to believe my situation was anywhere near hopeless. That was a good thing. Thanks be to mom.
With my dad as well, but all the more with my mom, no subject was determined. We could discuss in a way other people only dream. I was never pressured to think a certain way, vote a certain way, or live without a critical thinking apparatus. Other than to consider people less fortunate than I, other than to pursue a meaningful life, there was no directive on how to live. Thanks be to mom.
Even in my professional journey, it was never as if males couldn’t be managers or that they inherently lacked the leadership qualities. I had some fantastic guys with whom I worked. I had some great father figure managers. But, on average, the moms and moms-to-be and the would-be-moms all showcased greater advantage, greater acumen, greater skill, FAR greater awareness. Thanks be to mom.
In business dealings and in support of me, it’s been a very recent development to have the majority of peers or clients be male. For most of my years in the fitness industry, 5-1, women were more dependable. I seldom heard a mom back out of her other responsibilities because of a workplace difficulty. Sure. It happened from time to time. But it was a wholly male phenomenon to correlate a small raise at work with a large shift in how much to care about others. Single guys would complain about a “mere 5% raise” and how they’d have to cut out all charitable contributions for the year. Single moms would get no raise or even lose a bonus; and their support for their community might increase. Thanks be to moms.
In fact, my wife was the only constant for the past 18 years, both in the large scale and the small daily setbacks. When the going got tough, only she kept going. When trouble or doubt struck, others stepped back. She always stepped forward. She always stepped up. Thanks be to mom.
Even with my kids, I see beautiful caretaking from both for each other; but my daughter is the more perceptive of need, the more in tune when others feel down, the more in touch with the practical balance of a day. And she’s the younger. Thanks be to a “mom.”
Even in archaic theology, there are these fascinating motifs about the Hebrew names for God being admixtures of feminine and masculine nouns. It was inaccurate to describe the creator of all without any reference to being a caretaker, without any reference to inherent compassion, without any reference to being what a mother is to her children. Early Church writers insisted on “God” as mostly verb, not noun. But Clement, the bishop of Alexandria in the very Early Church actually used the word “mother” to describe God in the act of forgiveness.
There is a spirit of “mom” in a lot of people, not just the moms, per se, but possible in everyone sometimes. I’ve seen it in friends. I saw it in my dad. I pray I show it as often as is possible. Wherever that spirit thrives, we all give thanks.
Thanks be to mom.