It’s been a bit of a sad week for me.
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day, which I always look forward to as I have two young children (who love to celebrate any type of day), and I’ve always felt that it’s a particularly important day where kids learn to step outside themselves and appreciate the role other’s play in their lives.
My Mother’s Day was really nice, and the kids were extra attentive and very sweet with a homemade card and offers to do things around the house.
But at the end of the day, I noticed an absence. My daughter, who started Kindergarten this year, had not come home with anything from school. No cards, no little trinkets… nothing.
Wondering if she’d not been paying attention in class and somehow “missed” the exercise, I asked other mothers on Monday whether their kids had come home with anything. All I heard was a disappointed “No”, and a number of theories as to why it might be the case.
After a little more investigation, I found that it was a school-wide policy, and that it had been paid no attention at all. Feeling miffed and a little concerned for a lack of family values, I promptly put my feedback in an email to the school in the hope that it would enlighten them as to a better way to approach it next year.
But my hopes were soon dashed, when I was told that “Because it’s not part of the curriculum, and in the interest of diversity (apparently lots of mums don’t celebrate Mother’s Day… really?) it’s simply not done”. No more Easter. No more Christmas. Forget Mother’s Day. And who cares for Father’s Day.
Suffice it to say I wasn’t too happy.
Is this really where we are now? We’ve moved so far into catering for everyone, that we cater to no one at all. When I was at school, some of my fondest memories were making my mum a Mother’s Day card and then hiding it until the Sunday. The silly things I took home made of popsicle sticks and cardboard – they had no use whatsoever but my mum still has them 30 years later. Sure the kids can make them any day of the week as an art project, but it’s not the same as “Make something special for your Mum to say thank you for all the special things she does for you.”
Back then, in the interest of diversity, there were plenty of kids who turned their Mother’s Day cards into a “Someone Special” card. They may not have celebrated Mother’s Day, but they still got to be included in an occasion that recognises an important influence in your life.
And while some argue that “Kids should respect and value their parents every day… not just on one day of the year”, I don’t think this is an excuse to reject Mother’s Day. Yes, respect and value should always be there. But in the grind of everyday life, it’s hard to remember to step back and appreciate what others do for you – especially for children.
Is it illogical to believe that taking just 30 minutes out of “curriculum learning” and allowing kids to enjoy – with their peers – the experience of making something that celebrates their mothers (or fathers, or someone special), is the right thing to do?
Did your kids come home with a Mother’s Day present or card from school this year? What about Father’s Day?