Saturday, May 9, 2009

To pastors, about your Mother's Day remarks

I don’t know how many pastors have noticed this, but as Mother’s Day approaches, a flurry of female bloggers are writing about the stress it can cause—especially for churchgoing women. See, for example, Vinita Hampton Wright’s post that begins, “I will not be attending church this Sunday, because it’s Mother’s Day... ,” or Caryn and Carla’s post on The Mommy Revolution titled “Mother’s Day Sermons ... Ugh.”

Here’s an idea, pastors. It’s partly mine, but it was inspired by e-mailed comments from a dear friend who will remain unnamed until she gives me permission to quote her. If you’re going to honor the mothers, do it like this:

1. First, do what you always do: have the mothers stand, give them roses (or chocolate, which is better), let them sit in peace but say nice things about them, whatever. Hint: avoid singling out the oldest mother or, heaven forbid, the mom with the most kids. Keep it brief.

2. Then honor all women who have ever loved a child. These may be aunts, big sisters, grandmothers, godmothers, foster mothers, cousins, family friends, teachers, catechists, nurses, therapists, nannies, librarians, doctors, neighbors, volunteers, coaches, social workers, house cleaners, crossing guards, school cafeteria employees... Be sure to give them chocolate too.

3. Finally, talk about the children in your parish and neighborhood who need love. My friend listed “hungry children; cocaine-addicted babies who need rocking; kids who need tutoring and school supplies; kids who need a Big Sister, foster mom, or adoptive mom.”

Suggest agencies that potential volunteers can contact. Where I live, that could include CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) , the Evangelical Child and Family Agency, Outreach Community Ministries, People’s Resource Center , Marianjoy Rehabilition Hospital, and the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center —to name just a few.

Pastors, it’s good to honor mothers (step one), but if you stop there, a lot of us feel left out. Keep going to steps two and three, and we can all feel included. Even the guys.

No comments: