By Amy Hoffman
Mothering (verb): To watch over, nourish, and protect.
I have often thought that the second Sunday in May should be called “Mothering” Day instead of Mother’s Day. Mothering is a verb that describes the active way a person nurtures, protects, teaches, and cares for those in his or her life. And let’s face it – doesn’t everyone, young or old, like to be mothered?
Wouldn’t it be great to have “Mothering Day” so we could recognize and thank all the special people who have cared for us and enriched our lives? Obviously for many people, moms would be at the top of the list. There would also be fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, early learning professionals, teachers of older grades, coaches, scout leaders, church volunteers, neighbors, friends, etc. The list goes on and on.
These are the people who not only encourage but also gently push us because they see our potential before we do. They teach by example, earning our respect by their actions. We want to make them proud.
One of the greatest mothering influences in my life was my grandmother. Grams lived with us from the time I was in second grade until I went to college. I have fond memories of her involvement in so many aspects of my life. My parents and sisters spent the summer after I was in seventh grade at their seasonal campsite. I stayed home with Grams and learned how to cook and manage money. During high school, I spent quality time driving Grams around to complete errands, which often included going to the movies and out to lunch. When she died, I gave the eulogy at her funeral while I grieved at the loss of a “mother.”
We learn to be a mothering type of person from the people that surround us. Every day in your program you see little “moms,” both girls and boys, taking care of each other and even worrying about their teachers. There is nothing sweeter than a pair of little arms giving you a hug and saying, “You looked like you needed some love.”
Learning to be compassionate and thinking of others is the key to mothering. As adults we should model this behavior every chance we have, not only to children (because as early learning professionals we tend do that pretty well), but to the adults we encounter each day.
So, when you are celebrating Mother’s Day this year, take a moment to remember all the other “mothering” people in your life and strive to be a more mothering person – it will make the world a better place for all of us.
Do you have a story of a time that a child in your program engaged in “mothering” someone else? Feel free to comment and share.