Mother’s Day as a celebration of the unique power mothers have to be peacemakers.
By V.K. Harber
As Mother’s Day approaches in the US and retailers ready their supply of flowers, candy, jewelry, and
spa packages, I find myself torn, as I always am, between supporting the spoiling of mothers and highlighting the fact that, like so many holidays, Mother’s Day has drifted pretty far form it’s original intent.
Undoubtedly, mothers everywhere deserve some pampering. A little extra sleep, some alone time, a special meal, and some adorable kid crafts are the things that fuel mothers for another day back in the saddle of child-rearing. This is likely not what Julia Ward Howe had in mind, though, when she issued her Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870:
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy and patience.
“We women of one country
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have of ten forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions.
The great and general interests of peace.
I cannot help but be moved by her words and the urgency of her pleading, nor by how relevant her words remain.
Peace begins in the home. As mothers we have the ability to not only provide a peaceful environment for our children to grow, but to model peaceful behaviors and thoughts and to impart lessons about what it means to be truly peaceful and not just conflict-avoidant.
Beyond that, if all mothers everywhere could join together to stand up to the “irrelevant agencies” who can so easily take our children to “unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience” just think of how the world could change.
Being peaceful doesn’t mean being passive. As mothers who invest so much into our children and their happiness, we are completely justified in passionately and unapologetically pursuing peace to protect our precious sons and daughters and the precious sons and daughters of our fellow mothers.
Can powerful peaceful mamas change the world? I think we can. Especially after that delicious breakfast in bed and a little pampering.
About V.K. Harber
V.K. Harber is a yogi, writer and mother of one. She is the co-founder and former managing director of Samdhana-Karana Yoga: A Healing Arts Center in Tacoma, WA, a non-profit yoga studio.She currently resides in Seoul, South Korea where she works as a yoga teacher and post-partum doula. (www.vkharber.com) She is also a contributing writer at World Moms Blog and can be found on twitter @VKHarberRYT.