Mother's Day - It's NOT What You Think! - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-14-2006, 08:21 PM   #1
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Mother's Day - It's NOT What You Think!

Here is an article which documents the feminist, pacifist and civil rights background of the holiday that we all know in the USA as "Mother's Day":

Mother's Day History

Contrary to popular belief, Mother's Day was not conceived and fine-tuned in the boardroom of Hallmark. The earliest tributes to mothers date back to the annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to Rhea, the mother of many deities, and to the offerings ancient Romans made to their Great Mother of Gods, Cybele. Christians celebrated this festival on the fourth Sunday in Lent in honor of Mary, mother of Christ. In England this holiday was expanded to include all mothers and was called Mothering Sunday.

In the United States, Mother's Day started nearly 150 years ago, when Anna Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker, organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community, a cause she believed would be best advocated by mothers. She called it "Mother's Work Day."

Fifteen years later, Julia Ward Howe, a Boston poet, pacifist, suffragist, and author of the lyrics to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," organized a day encouraging mothers to rally for peace, since she believed they bore the loss of human life more harshly than anyone else.

In 1905 when Anna Jarvis died, her daughter, also named Anna, began a campaign to memorialize the life work of her mother. Legend has it that young Anna remembered a Sunday school lesson that her mother gave in which she said, "I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother's day. There are many days for men, but none for mothers."

Anna began to lobby prominent businessmen like John Wannamaker, and politicians including Presidents Taft and Roosevelt to support her campaign to create a special day to honor mothers. At one of the first services organized to celebrate Anna's mother in 1908, at her church in West Virginia, Anna handed out her mother's favorite flower, the white carnation. Five years later, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution calling for officials of the federal government to wear white carnations on Mother's Day. In 1914 Anna's hard work paid off when Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother's Day as a national holiday.

At first, people observed Mother's Day by attending church, writing letters to their mothers, and eventually, by sending cards, presents, and flowers. With the increasing gift-giving activity associated with Mother's Day, Anna Jarvis became enraged. She believed that the day's sentiment was being sacrificed at the expense of greed and profit. In 1923 she filed a lawsuit to stop a Mother's Day festival, and was even arrested for disturbing the peace at a convention selling carnations for a war mother's group. Before her death in 1948, Jarvis is said to have confessed that she regretted ever starting the mother's day tradition.

Despite Jarvis's misgivings, Mother's Day has flourished in the United States. In fact, the second Sunday of May has become the most popular day of the year to dine out, and telephone lines record their highest traffic, as sons and daughters everywhere take advantage of this day to honor and to express appreciation of their mothers.

Kinda makes you have a better appreciation of the holiday known as "Mother's Day", doesn't it?

Today, I think of all the mothers around the world who must struggle against tremendous odds just to feed their children and provide for their safety and future.

May they know much better times very soon.

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Old 05-15-2006, 08:06 PM   #2
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Here's an article about an issue that the mothers of the developing world would be concerned about:

Universal schooling

Originally published May 15, 2006

It has pledges from 180 industrialized nations, but the effort to provide free universal primary education for all children in the developing world by 2015, which is part of the United Nations Millennium Project, is still short on a key ingredient: money. Last month, the United Kingdom pledged $1.5 billion a year for the next 10 years to the cause. The United States, which has an economy six times as large as that of the U.K., is way behind. It's time for America to step up and pay more of its fair share.
More than 100 million young people - nearly 60 percent girls - in developing countries do not attend school. About 40 million of these youngsters are in sub-Saharan Africa, and most of the rest are scattered across Asia. User fees, commonly charged in about 70 nations, are the main reason children don't attend elementary school. And when an impoverished family can scrape together enough money to pay the fees, boys are more likely to be the beneficiaries.

In 2000, the developed nations promised to give money if the developing countries came up with plans to absorb the new students in a free system. The estimated gap between what is currently being spent and what it would cost to provide all children with eight years of schooling is about $10 billion a year. With just about a decade to fulfill the goal, Great Britain's pledge is a big boost. It now joins the Netherlands in fully honoring its 2000 pledge. The U.S., which has made no specific pledge, is contributing $465 million. Even in tight fiscal times, America should at least commit to spending $500 million in the next fiscal year. When it comes to a basic primary education, no child in the world should be left behind.

Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun

A basic education for EVERY child should be a right, not a privilege, in the modern world.
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