The extraordinary richness of what-it-is-to-be-human can be veiled by its normality. Wisdom is often in noticing things so ordinary that they escape notice. Such as motherhood.
We should celebrate Mother’s Day if for no other reason than it prompts us to look again at something right in front of us. By an unalterable if somewhat surprising design of nature, everyone has a mother. To say that the role of mothers is no accident but rather something chalked out by nature is, well, just the beginning. Something so universal, so specific, and so consequential can only be the fruit of intentionality. And this means there are treasures of goodness hidden within, waiting to blossom.
The reality of motherhood points right to the heart of what it is to be human—if we have eyes to see. But it’s easy to miss, both by mother and mothered. Here is no peripheral occupation for the one, nor peripheral formative agency for the other. Mothering touches and in a sense actualizes the deepest identity of a woman, and being mothered, along with being fathered, touches and in a sense actualizes the deepest identity of a son or daughter.
Unfortunately, our recognition of mothers these days can feel a bit like, “Hey, thanks Mom, someone had to do it…” I wonder how different it could be if this came from a better place. More than just recognizing the untold sacrifices of mothers, we would honor them in a way that conveys a conviction about the centrality of mothering in human existence.
Human life consists especially in generating or crafting the human good, or virtuous living, in oneself and in others. Mothering names the feminine mode of crafting that noble good in other persons. It is the feminine mode of ‘generosity’ in the full richness of the term. Mothers give biological life; even more they nurture and form whole persons, thus truly giving human life.
We can thus see how mothering is not one task among others a woman does, as fathering is not one task among others a man does. Everything a mother does can be drawn up into her mothering, becoming part of it. Being this unifying and crowning feature sets mothering apart from other occupations or roles a mother might undertake. To honor a mother, then, is not simply to honor something she has done but rather the totality of who she has become—especially in and through her mothering.
Each of us according to our station will have different ways of honoring mothers—our own and others—this Mother’s Day. My thoughts go especially to husbands, who are perhaps best positioned to honor the women who bring the gift of motherhood to all of us. May we grow in wisdom better to see, gratitude better to thank, and virtue better to serve and empower their motherhood.
Join the Community.
Become a LifeCraft Member and gain access to our online courses and exclusive content. It's FREE of charge. Period.
If you join as a contributing member, you will help make this content available to an increasing audience and enable me to spend more time in this work. I thank you in advance.
Join the LifeCraft community today and get access to:
- Man of the Household (Course)
- Woman of the Household (Course)
- Concepts Made Clear (Mini-course)
- Dinner at Home (Mini-course)
Discouragement, or at least its temptation, regularly accompanies intentional living. Even if we do not formulate it explicitly we find ourselves feeling “why do the good things I want have to be so difficult?” It is a consolation to know this is not unique to our...
There are important analogies between a father in a family and a ruler in a nation. This is perhaps especially clear in the consequences of their failure. Aquinas writes that “royal dignity is rendered hateful to many people on account of the wickedness of tyrants.”...
“He had no ‘time of his own’ (except in his bed-cell), and yet he was becoming master of his time; he began to know just what he could do with it.” J.R.R. Tolkien, Leaf by Niggle Many of the greatest traps of our day appear in the guise of simple math. One of them...
Husband, father, and professor of Philosophy. LifeCraft springs from one conviction: there is an ancient wisdom about how to live the good life in our homes, with our families; and it is worth our time to hearken to it. Let’s rediscover it together. Learn more.