day of mother and child

On How the Carnation Does not Drop its Petals

The Origins of Mother’s Day

In the U.S., Mother’s Day, is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. According to an article about the origins of Mother’s Day in the U.S., Julia Ward Howe, an anti-war activist most well- known for writing the song “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” first suggested a Mother’s Peace Day in 1872. However, it is Anna Jarvais who is credited for organizing the first Mother’s Day celebration in Grafton, West Virginia in 1908.

Largely due to her efforts, President Woodrow Wilson declared a national day of mother and child, or Mother’s Day, in 1914. In a book about her, Anna Jarvais is also credited for fighting to keep Mother’s Day from being either commercialized or politicized. That fight entailed using most of her own financial resources to file lawsuits against those she considered to be using the holiday for political purposes or economic gain, which ultimately resulted in her dying penniless.

Despite her best efforts to keep Mother’s Day, meant to be a sacred day of mother and child, from being commercialized, Americans spent an estimated collective $21 billion dollars to on Mother’s Day in 2015. Equally ironic, Anna Jarvais herself had no children of her own. The majority of those $21 billion dollars were spent on cards, flowers, and jewelry with which people expressed their appreciation for the many sacrifices their mothers have made on their behalf. Anna Jarvais’s own mother’s favorite flower, the white carnation, was originally the official flower of Mother’s Day. About the flower, Anna Jervais was quoted in a 1927 interview as saying

“The carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never dying,”

Day of Mother and Child Celebrations Around the World

A special day of mother and child is celebrated in many countries. Australians celebrate Mother’s Day on the same day as the U.S. There is also the similarity of the symbolism of the carnation. As in the U.S., Australia utilizes the carnation as part of the observance of Mother’s Day. According to their tradition, carrying a colored carnation signifies that one’s mother is still living, while a white carnation honors a mother who is deceased.

Grandmothers and other women who provide nurturing for children are honored as well as mothers.

Another tradition is for children to serve their mothers breakfast in bed as a way of expressing gratitude for all their mothers do for them throughout the year. In France for example, the day of mother and child is celebrated on the last Sunday in May with a family dinner ending with a cake in the shape of a bouquet of flowers to honor the mother of the family. In India, the focus is on to take time to think about all the pains their mother took while they were sick, the hardships she went through in bringing them up and all the sacrifices she made so that they lead a better life.

Ireland has celebrated a day of mother and child, based partially in the Catholic religion, since medieval times. During a time in which poor children were often sent to work as domestic servants in the homes of the wealthy, children were given one day off a year to worship the Virgin Mary and visit their own mothers. On that day, the fourth Sunday of Lent, the children would often pick wildflowers on their way home which they gave to their mothers, which began the modern tradition of giving flowers for Mother’s Day.

In Mexico the day of mother and child has been celebrated on May 10th since 1922, the holiday being credited to journalist Rafael Alducín, who wrote an article advocating a national celebration of mothers.

In Spain, Mother’s Day is celebrated on December 8th, and honors the Virgin Mary in addition to earthly mothers.

In Russia, before 1998, the day of mother and child was always celebrated on March 8th, which is International Women’s Day, partly in remembrance of the goal of global gender equality. Since 1998, Mother’s Day has been celebrated with light blue forget-me-nots on the last Sunday of November.

In Japan, the day of mother and child, called haha-no-hi, began to be celebrated on March 6th, to coincide with the birthday of Empress Kojun. The holiday was established by the Imperial Women’s Union in 1931. The celebration includes giving flowers, primarily carnations, as well as gifts and serving a special meal.

Mothers, and all they do to ensure the safety and happiness of not just their own children, but ultimately, their communities and the wider world, are well worth celebrating.

day of mother and child
Carnations. Dianthus caryophyllus. Coloured aquatint, c1839 CC4.0

May 9,2016  |

family life and homeschooling

How Home Schooling Became the Fastest Growing Form of Education

“Schooling operates out of an assumption that ordinary people are biologically or psychologically or politically inferior; education assumes that individuals are sovereign spirits. “

–John Taylor Gatto

Family Life and Homeschooling—A Growing Educational Trend

Home schooling has been steadily becoming a more popular option for parents around the world. According to one article, it’s the fastest growing form of education, increasing at an annual rate of between 7% and 15% per year. While information isn’t available for all countries, countries in which home schooling is on the rise include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, and the U.K. Those statistics don’t include parents who homeschool just one of their children or those that homeschool part time or only for a year or two.

There are a number of reasons that parents choose to homeschool their children. Some choose homeschooling for religious reasons. Others believe that school environments aren’t conducive to learning or don’t foster independent thinking. Still others are concerned about perceived deterioration of the academic quality of public schools as a result of overcrowded classrooms. Parents of children with special needs often choose to homeschool their children because their homes provide better accommodation for those needs. The majority of parents who choose to homeschool do so for the best of reasons. However, sadly, there are some parents who choose this option as a way to hide child abuse.

Benefits of Family Life and Homeschooling

Whatever their reasons for choosing to home school their children, most parents report that one of the benefits of family life and home schooling is a sense of togetherness. Family life and home schooling advocate and educational reformer John Taylor Gatto believes that rigid school routines discourage children from the process of self-discovery. He describes self-discovery as a process of making choices, noticing patterns within those choices and using that self-knowledge to make future choices. Further, he believes that if the personal growth that accompanies this process is interfered with, it can result in creating adults who are easily manipulated. He says that his 30 years of teaching left him with the realization that “Institutionalized schooling… is about obedience in exchange for favors and advantages.”

One of the benefits of home schooling is gaining valuable experiences that cannot be created within the confines of a classroom. For example, the ability to take far more field trips allows both parents and their children to experience, rather than read about, the changing of the seasons. Family life and home schooling also become inseparable as children gain hands-on experience. For example, a nutrition class can include shopping for and cooking a meal, which could also include a valuable lesson in hosting a social event, as well as the sanitary importance of cleaning up afterwards. One mother’s personal experience with family life and homeschooling lists some additional benefits.

The Challenges Presented by Family Life and Homeschooling

One of the challenges of family life and homeschooling is that the parents must often reeducate themselves. This is especially true in the age of technology, in which new information is being discovered and disseminated more quickly than at any other time in human history. Because it is rare for any person to have a passion for every subject, many parents that homeschool form support groups in order to utilize one another’s interests, talents and abilities. For example, a parent who enjoys and excels in teaching science but dreads teaching grammar might arrange to have their child attend another parent’s grammar lesson in exchange for their child attending a science lesson. Another benefit of this approach is that it provides an avenue for supervised socializing since home schooled children often have fewer opportunities to socialize.

One of the most common challenges of family life and homeschooling is that of sibling rivalry. Maintaining an emotional atmosphere that promotes optimum learning can be difficult. All families experience occasional conflict among siblings, and some parents report that teaching children respectful conflict resolution skills can be the most difficult aspect of family life and homeschooling. Another is the potential for parental burnout, since parents who home school are often on duty 24 hours a day. That’s why scheduling time away to relax on a regular basis is extremely important.

In 1909, President Woodrow Wilson, who was then the president of Princeton University, said “We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity to forgo the privilege of a liberal education.” For many parents who want their children to receive a first class education, but are unable to pay expensive tuition, homeschooling can reduce the effects of income inequality.

There is no shortage of examples of successful people who learned to be such independent thinkers at a young age that they found it unnecessary to earn a college degree. That list includes computer whizzes Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Michael Dell, creator of the CNN news network Ted Turner. Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, and Warren Avis of Avis Rent-a-Car. It’s hard to argue with success like that.

family life and homeschooling

February 17,2016  |