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Posts Tagged ‘Mother’s Day’

When I was in my twenty’s, I worked at a residential treatment center for juvenile delinquents. It was  one of the few programs at the time that housed both boys and girls, ages 12-18. Most just dealt with boys since “girls are just too much trouble.”  Having had counseling training and work experience with the Juvenile Court system during college,  I thought I knew what I would be facing. Wrong.

My years there taught me more about parenting than I ever would have realized. I went in thinking I would be helping a bunch of rebellious kids who had succumbed to peer pressure and gotten into trouble despite the best efforts of their parents. Naive? You bet!  The more parents I met, the more I realized that 95% of what later turned into delinquent behavior by the child, started with inappropriate, absentee or even abusive parenting. And it was not necessarily based on economic, cultural or other what was deemed “typical” demographics.

What started me on this train of thought today? I read Nicholas Kristof’s NYTimes Op-Ed column, “Girls on our Streets” of yesterday. I’m used to his descriptions of overseas prostitution, of trafficking in girls usually between the ages of 12-14, but this column discusses young girl prostitutes in the United States. Even social services call them “throw-aways”, young girls whose parents see “no good” in them or who can’t handle the behavior patterns developed as a result of the girl’s low-self esteem. Low-self esteem developed because of serious parenting issues. See a vicious cycle here?

My first instinct upon reading Kristof’s column was to jump, yet again, on the bandwagon for more resources, guidance, counseling, teaching, etc., etc., for those who are parents in trouble as well as for the child.  While I still believe in that, I decided instead I wanted to actually do a complete turn-about and celebrate parents who are great, who are taking wonderful care of their children, who are making a positive difference.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, when I learned of a delightful opportunity to create an easy online video award for the mother you want to honor as “Mother of the Year”, I couldn’t resist passing it along. From MomsRising’s Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner:

*See your name in lights on a prime time online newscast in this funny, inspirational and, yes, customizable video: http://news.cnnbcvideo.com/index2.html

You can also make this online video feature a friend, your mom, and anyone you know who could use a little lift for the hard work she does just being a mom every day.

TRY IT! It’s fun, and the mom who receives it will love it. And then maybe we can look at putting mom power behind those who could benefit from learning what it takes to be a loving parent. For their child.

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I remember the first Mother’s Day after my mom had passed away, I felt a bit lost and saddened when I realized I didn’t need to go looking for the usual Mother’s Day card. I didn’t have to go get groceries for the meal she chose, or get the present I thought she wanted. There was no Internet at the time, no last minute Amazon to overnight something, no 1-800 number to order Flowers. Either you planned ahead and mailed early or made sure you were going to be with her – otherwise, it was the dog house for sure.

I remember it was the gift giving that was especially hard. My dad – Old Spice, every year rain or shine. My mom, oh no, nothing that simple. In fact she made it harder by saying she wanted something from you that wasn’t “material”, but rather a promise that you would or wouldn’t do “x” this year. The X Factor I called it long before the term became popular for other reasons, always seemed to have some little guilt to it, which made it seemingly unbearable even in its “goodness.” I did find a web site  article on the art of giving memories, which I wish I had known when mom was still here. She would have loved it and I would have breathed a sigh of relief as it mixes love and memory without guilt.

There are other mothers I would honor, some in person, some in memory. You didn’t have to be my actual mom to act like the wise elder I thought mothers should be.  Political mothers are present more than ever, I make sure to read “PunditMom” often for example.  In browsing, I found Australians are focusing on government child care initiatives as we are here in the States, urging folks to  support paid sick days to keep families healthy by making sure to tell their Congresspeople to pass pending legislation. Global sentiment is also growing as I found the opportunities to buy a gift for mother available in many languages – commercialism vs. sentiment I fear.

Sentimental, political, or obligatory, Mother’s Day is coming — are you ready?!

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