Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bottom-Up #Innovation Needed to Strengthen #Motherhood & #Family

updated 2/7/16

consider how incredibly fortunate I am to have had the opportunities that I have been given. I stand on the shoulders of others. 

My own family life was not perfect, but I had both parents home, and the strong support of extended family. This post is about what 'mother' means to me, and it is also a social commentary in how I see the role of the 'mother' under constant bombardment in America today. 

My mother has been a selfless, sacrificing woman who has gone beyond the point of exhaustion, wit, and strength to see that my three sisters and I succeed. Everyone who knows my mother know about  her connection to her children. We constantly seek to talk with her on an almost daily basis and she counsels us. She does not call us with counsel to give, but we seek her out. ..It is also because her internet phone system automatically answers her  calls putting the caller on loud speaker by error.  
Her children seek her out because of the way she makes us feel. I think it is because of her principles and how she makes others feel. 'People may not always remember what you said, but they will remember how they felt with you.'

 If you haven't noticed from past blog posts, that is the underpinning of one of my instructional pedagogies. Namely, create a positive experience as the always present priority over any given activity and you deepen rapport, trust and set the stage for success, rather than failure next time.

My mother has been my number one advocate ever since I can remember. My experience with her has been one of receiving from her, more than I have given back. I am always floored by her love for her kids even though we put her through the ringer..more than a few times! It is through her that I learned early on of the applied power of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a great service love in action. Mom emphasized the importance of paraverbal skills, or how you say what you say before I even knew the term. Being loving and kind, and thinking of others first was not drilled into me, it was modeled. It was because of my Mom that I am a teacher today. A service profession focused on empowering others. It may because of my Dad that I am entrepreneurial, but it was because of Mom's influence that I look after and nurture, and 'love up' my own children. Likewise, it may be that my Dad taught me goal-directed persistence even when all seems lost, but it was my Mom that has heavily impacted my instructional view.

Grief may be unavoidable, but resentment can be ushered out of one's heart. I have had to do this more than once. My Mom said it enough times, that I started practiced from a young age and have been able to observe the long term effects of forgiveness and recognize the inherent power in it. I also learned that people sometimes take advantage of a forgiving person, but I also noticed in my observations that eventually you when people over.  It's like practicing Sun Tzu's The Art of War but with lovingkindness! Mom has never read a single page of Sun Tzu's 2,500 year old book, but she smacked the nail on the head and punched a hole through the wall with that one for me.

My Number One Advocate

It was because of my Mom that I am actually alive today. In one dire moment in my adolescence, after receiving a round of vaccines, I got the Gulliam-Bared virus. The enzymes that provided the energy were depleted from  muscle tissue and I had been a few months undiagnosed on a steady losing battle of energy. The end of the line would be muscle and organ failure everywhere. I came within a month or two of my life ending...but it was my mother who rearranged her life to keep me alive... She tirelessly canvassed every doctor to find why I was winnowing away and losing all my physical strength. She did not stop. ..She did not stop. Finally, we found a doctor who electrically jump started my muscles with needles and that showed signs of promise. I rehabilitated with swimming, walking and then surfing. By the end of highschool I was surfing and paddling for hours on end and had the pull-up or chin-up record for boys (33 repetitions).

Their are countless stories of mother saving me or one of my sisters in different ways. My mother still wipes the tears from my eyes even when she is thousands of miles away. I am proud of my mother. I love my mother. Her being a woman also means that I respect and honor all mothers across America. It is such a hard, thankless job. 

Mom's operate best as mothers and should not be made to fill the shoes of the father. This is very taxing on the physical and mental health of Mom's. I wish more had the Mom I had. Their are countless great mothers across our nation of families and initiatives to strengthen families should be fomented from the bottom-up by families, parents and grandparents. 

Strengthening Mom's has to be a grassroots local effort, not a top-down effort. Their is no way a top-down .gov effort can be self-sustaining. The desire and motivation to improve the family values and motherhood in America has to be a very personal activity far from the special interest hallways of Washington D.C. 

What can be done to protect motherhood?

It vexes my heart to see girls and women be treated and treat themselves like a commodity. 
They are so not. 
Woman need to be honored, reverenced, and cherished. As of the initial time of this posting, our pop culture, it seems, is not interested in that. Instead, it seems to be more interested in indoctrinating minds to think of pleasure and gratification all to make some money. Our throw away culture gives kids unrealistic experiences that are cardboard reality cut-outs which can be had while watching television. Then they grow up and and can't handle the real world. How can they? They have not been tested and tried. Before they are even twenty five they are washed out and mentally disenfranchised. 

Where is the valor in that? Where is America going if we devalue ourselves, our woman and our sense of family values like that? Where is America going if fathers don't father? Where is America going if woman are raised with a warped sense of their value? Of course, this doesn't happen in every household. But it happens enough that the streets are brimming with this reality.

I believe that for true woman empowerment we must not just ensure the rights of woman in the workplace, not just the rights of woman who are in the womb, but  the right of woman to be able to turn on the television set and not worry her daughter is gonna surf by the music channel and see Disney's Miley Cyrus shaking her rear end over and over again. Poor girl is so rich and powerful and she uses her position in life  to shake her body as if she is having sex. Poor girl is so rich, talented and yet she channels the focus of millions of adoring girl fans towards sex.  Is that the only thing that sells?

This reality slams against motherhood. It slams against what builds up a person. It sends the wrong message about how to be successful in life. Not everyone has the talent Cyrus has, but if they did, would they be shaking their butt to the world while making provocative faces? Is that what they learned from Mom?  You don't have to eat garbage to know that it is garbage. 

To innovate and strengthen the role of mother's in America, I propose to myself and to the families of America that we create a framework that is inexpensive to copy and implement. The framework would act as a standard by which to monitor oneself. The standards can be generic, yet poignant enough that they are effective and easily tailored to each family. 

For example, one standard can be that their is either no television Sunday-Friday, or no television on school afternoons. Sundays should not be a television day either. Play with the kids at home. Read a book of wisdom to them, or the biography of great men and women. Girls should read the biographies of great women, instead of learning the lyrics to a sexualized music female star. Have them memorize words of wisdom that they may hide it in their heart for a time of need. 

Another standard can be that Fathers pledge to reverence, honor, and cherish their wives (even when it is hard to do so), that the children may see Dad's way of honoring the woman, the mother. Father's can role-model to their kids on a daily basis how they value the Mom, how they value the protecting of the sanctity of marriage, which keeps families together, and by helping co-raise the children and bending over backwards to work as a team with their wives. 

It is so important that the children see the fathers as nurturing, kind, firm, disciplined and as  servant leaders who do not condescend to their wives, but speak to them with thoughts of love and not evil. A servant to the family who leads by example shows his children how woman should be dealt with.. with lovingkindness and respect (even if we feel they may not deserve it). With enough generations of this happening the fabric of America may strengthen once again. Our mothers, and future mothers depend on the team effort we can all do one household at a time.

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