On Sunday, May 14, we celebrated the 115th anniversary of Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day was started to celebrate mothers, maternal bonds, motherhood, and the influence of mothers in society. In the United States it began in the early 20th century. The first celebration took place in 1908 when Anna Jarvis organized a memorial for her mother at St. Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.
In spite of that auspicious start, mothers are not as valued today as they should be. The evidence of this are the reactions leveled toward them when people discuss problems in America’s Black communities. People loudly proclaim the Black community is endangered and often blame the condition on single, female-headed households. That number is said to be above 70 percent.
What that means is more than half of Black children are raised without two parents. This compromises family stability, even though some families are successful in spite of having a mate. It’s not that second husbands or wives and stepparents, etc., are ineffective; the challenge is connected with biology. In a best-case scenario two parents in the home help to stabilize and nurture a family. And when necessary, DNA is available in the quest to determine genealogy.
We all know by now that Black people have had a significant impact on developing strategies that resist oppression. This did not leave the community healed, however. In spite of oppression, the community has prospered, and a large part of the reason it does is due to the persistence of Black women, and by extension, Black mothers.
Black women have managed to provide a community backbone. The result is that the Black community can be considered somewhat “matrilineal,” if you consider that in many cases, the actual genetic line is often more known or available on the woman’s side of the family due to the absence of fathers. Regarding the foregoing, the conclusion can be drawn that family dysfunction is partially a result of absent fathers and present incompetent mothers. Women have borne the brunt of the criticism and blame.
The truth, though, of Black American community dysfunction is more than just the internal perception of weakness in families: the challenges are rooted in IMBALANCE coming from the belief that women are less important in the scheme of things. They often think they’re not “enough.” This has impacted the self-esteem of many Black women (and girls). The negative aspect of this situation is the lack of belief in self and, by extension, significant others.
New thinking is needed that will help balance things. A great deal of the origin of our community problems has to do with a philosophical imbalance between males and females, as previously mentioned. This wreaks havoc in families. It is becoming so extreme that a number of people have given up on the idea of marriage altogether and have settled for “shacking up.” Besides the lack of commitment often found in broken Black families, there are attendant broken dreams, broken spirits and broken love. This is what has to be fixed.
The parent who interfaces with children the most will usually have a disproportionate impact on their lives. In a matrilineal society, women are usually the great influencers. Black men, for example, have been endangered for years…they have endured violent attacks on their personhood, and yet they have often been psychologically saved by family matriarchs—“Big Mama” and her counterparts. Women, in this regard, provide balanced support to family units through nurturing, and this does not limit the other roles outside of homes that women might play.
Essentially, the new thinking that must precede a new age of peace and progress in Black communities can be ignited by the magical power of MOTHER ENERGY. We must change our approach to each other spreading the nurturing that often comes from mothers, and this can inspire positive emotional behaviors.
Violence hasn’t contributed to anything on Earth but mayhem; a new direction opposite the one that has dominated up to now needs to be employed.
Since mother energy (love) can help shape everyone, mothers are in a unique position to change the trajectory of world dynamics. There is one catch; mothers need the assistance of nurturing partners to help engender positive domestic outcomes. She can in turn use her renewed energy to help raise great children, influence society as a whole and save our future.
(Reprinted from The Chicago Crusader)