Saturday, May 8, 2010
The Alaska Young Mother of the Year is a woman who is related to some members of my family. She well deserves the honor because she does an outstanding job of mothering her large family. I suspect that the honor given to her makes other young mothers feel less competent. I want to assure all the mothers of young children of my acquaintance that you are doing well. I have developed the habit of watching the mothering skills of women around me, and I must say that I am more and more impressed as time goes by. I am learning much from young mothers that I wish I had known while my children were young. The smallest of gestures are impressive as shown by the following lines attributed to Victor Hugo: "She broke the bread into two fragments and gave them to her children, who ate with eagerness. `She hath kept none for herself,' grumbled the sergeant. `Because she is not hungry,' said a soldier. `No,' said the sergeant, `because she is a mother.'" I think that mothers in general think that they are failing in their responsibilities. I know that I usually feel that I don't measure up to what I should be. A dear friend told me many years ago that we will not know how good of mothers we are until we see how our grandchildren turn out. While you are pondering that thought, remember that numerous religious leaders have told us that some children would turn out great no matter whom their parents were and other children would challenge the best of parents. Please don't be too hard on yourselves. I know for sure that we never fail until we fail to keep trying. For all those mothers who feel that they will never be chosen as "mother of the year," consider the following thoughts from prophets: "I have learned to place a high estimate upon the love of mother. I have often said, and will repeat it, that the love of a true mother comes nearer being like the love of God than any other kind of love" (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 315). "Motherhood is the greatest potential influence, either for good or ill in human life. The mother's image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child's mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss, the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world" (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, 452). "She who can paint a masterpiece or write a book that will influence millions deserves the admiration and the plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose influence will be felt through generations to come, whose immortal souls will exert an influence throughout the ages long after paintings shall have faded, and books and statues shall have decayed or shall have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God" (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, 453-54). Motherhood is the noblest of all careers because it is the most important career for women. The following story illustrates the important role filled by mothers. "Kristen was finishing a graduate degree and had recently given birth to her second child. She felt the other graduates had accomplished so much more and was reluctant to attend the graduation dinner. Her fears were confirmed when, at the dinner, the students were asked to list their professional accomplishments. "Kristen recalled, `I suddenly felt embarrassed and ashamed. I had nothing to call myself, no lofty position, no impressive job title.' To make matters worse, the professor read the lists as he presented a diploma to each student. The woman ahead of Kristen had many accomplishments: she already had a PhD, was receiving a second master's degree, and she'd even been a mayor! The woman received grand applause. "Then it was Kristen's turn. She handed the professor her blank sheet, trying to hold back the tears. The professor had been one of her teachers and had praised her performance. He looked at her blank paper. Without missing a beat he announced, `Kristen holds the most critical role in all of society.' He was quiet for a few seconds, then declared in a powerful voice, `She is the mother of her children.' Instead of a few courteous claps, people rose to their feet. There was just one standing ovation that night; it was for the mother in the room" (Bonnie D. Parkin, "Sweet Moments," Ensign, Nov. 2005, 107). Fools may deride the women who choose to become mothers and spend their most productive years in nurturing their children. People with wisdom understand that mothers hold the most critical position in the world. The work done by mothers with their children will determine the type of society we have. Never underestimate the importance of being a mother. I wish a Happy Mother's Day to every woman. To those women who happen to have children, enjoy the attention given to you today because you deserve it. To those women who do not have children of their own yet, rejoice because you are a woman and are a mother in your heart.. Every woman has a part to play in helping the children and youth of today to become the healthy, well-balanced adults of tomorrow.