Even though it’s evolved into a marketing event, I see Mother’s Day as an opportunity to appreciate one of the most important women in my life.
My mother is not one for grand gestures – a big hug, handwritten card, tea and scones mean as much as something fancier.
And I was remembering my colleagues who don’t have a mum anymore – for them Mother’s Day can be tough. Anyone who’s lost a parent or other loved one knows that cloud of sadness eases over time but never really goes away.
Leading up to Sunday I impressed on my 16-year-old son the significance of making the effort to express gratitude in thoughtful ways to his mother.
This is a time to set aside any day to day challenges affecting the relationship and come together to celebrate the good stuff – family, food and fun.
And rather than trying for just one special day, how about fostering this attitude of gratitude on an ongoing basis? That is, making a habit of expressing appreciation regularly.
According to UCLA professor Dr. Robert Emmons, there are two stages to feeling gratitude. The first is to RECOGNISE the goodness in our lives, and next, that the SOURCE of that goodness lies OUTSIDE of ourselves. This process helps you recognise everything and everyone who contributes to your life.
Emmons explains that you can use gratitude to make new social connections or to improve current ones. Acts of gratitude can be used to apologise, make amends or help solve problems. But for me, feeling grateful is a rewarding process in itself – it motivates me, because there is no guarantee what tomorrow will bring.
Thinking about mothers I am reminded of the movie “Celia” which my wife and I recently watched. It’s journalist Amanda Miller’s documentary about the last year of social campaigner Celia Lashlie’s life. Lashlie was probably best known for her book “He’ll be OK: Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men.”
I took two messages from Celia’s legacy – first that it’s time to listen to mothers and ask how we can help mothers, rather than judging them; and second, Celia’s advice to mothers to stop babying our boys so they learn about decision-making and consequences.
Mother’s Day reminds me to be grateful – and to acknowledge and appreciate the contribution of mothers and others.
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