As time passes, memories fade. Fact of life.
Thanks to all the reminders we get from our devices or ads or from people around us, we remember that the second Sunday in May is Mother’s Day but not many of us would know more about it. Like why it was started or by whom.
Anna Jarvis the founder of Mother’s Day was a woman ahead of her times. Although she lived in the first half of the 20th century, she was educated, a working woman who was economically independent, opinionated and quite a visionary who did not hesitate to fight for things she believed in.
As a young girl, Anna heard her mother express a wish for an observance which celebrated the mother in the family. After her education Anna went on to become the first female literary and advertising editor in a life insurance company. After she lost her mother, she started actively campaigning for a Mother’s Day culminating in Woodrow Wilson making a Presidential Proclamation about Mother’s Day in 1914. Ever since it has been celebrated on the second Sunday of May. What many might not be aware of is the fact that in the years after that Anna Jarvis spent much of her time trying to save the Mother’s Day observance from total commercialization. There was a point when Anna had 33 lawsuits pending – all pertaining to celebrations around Mother’s Day!
Anna Jarvis had viewed the Mother’s Day celebration as one which was sentimental. A day when children gifted their mother a carnation and wrote them a nice note. The symbolic carnation was the first to walk the path of commercialization. When florists raised the prices of carnations just before Mother’s Day. Anna fought back by endorsing a boycott of florists. In spite of all her effort, by 2015 Mother’s Day was the biggest sales driver for the $ 27 billion US flower industry.
Greeting card companies jumped on to the Mother’s Day bandwagon and started selling Mother’s Day greeting cards with sentimental messages. Today mothers are so overloaded with such messages that we hesitate to write our mothers’ anything remotely sentimental, for fear of sounding clichéd and greeting card like. In the years Anna Jarvis lived many might have viewed her battles as odd, but today if one looks around there is a definite shortfall in sentiment and increase in commercialization.
Celebrating Mothers Day the Old Fashioned Way
As our lives get more commercial, it is not a bad idea to loosen this stranglehold. Writing a note is simple in itself, and definitely not hard. Perhaps this year on, we could try reducing the commercial aspect of Mother’s Day. Here are four non-commercial activities for kids to observe Mother’s Day:
- Write a note
Handwritten notes are something every mother will treasure. Especially if the kids are young and still learning to write. Get the kids to sit down and write a sweet note to their mothers. It could have drawings or it could be prettied up, but make sure the child writes or draws something by himself. It could be about a time the child remembers with happiness or it could be a time when the mother comforted. The sentiment has to the child’s. While my kids write their notes, I’ll write one to my mother.
- Grow some flowers or make a flower crown
Get the children to grow some flowers in a place where the mother does not frequent and then surprise her with the flowers. Even if the flowers don’t grow, make some paper flowers and stick them into a pot for her. Alternatively, you could get the kids to make a flower crown for her.
- Get kids to spend time with their mother
Younger kids love spending time with their mother. But as kids grow up, they tend to spend time with peers. Once we are adults, we might visit mothers, but we don’t necessarily spend time with them doing what they enjoy. Encourage kids to play games which the mother might enjoy or alternately kids can introduce mothers to games they enjoy playing. It could be pet games or puzzle games – the idea is to spend time together. If there is a favorite movie from the mother’s childhood, play it and let both the generations enjoy it.
- Make a collage of mother’s pictures from her childhood
This gift requires some extra work wading through photo albums of mother as a young child. Pictures which mark important points in her life can be put together in a nice collage. It is best to scan in the images and use copies so that the originals stay intact. A collage is a good way to remind a mother of her childhood. It is something special and unique which any mother would cherish.
This Mother’s Day let’s try and return to the simplicity of what it was meant to be – a day of sentiment to acknowledge our mothers who do so much for us. It was never intended to be a day of commercial profit. At least not of this magnitude.
This is a guest post: George Schalter loves being a dad. He and his wife share the joys and responsibilities of bringing up their two children. As believers of good all round education, they spend a lot of time playing with their children and spending time outdoors. As George is the writer in the family, he blogs at Educational Kids Games.
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