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Jewish World Review
May 1, 2009
/ 7 Iyar 5769
In case you missed it, we have just gone through that yearly observance which used to be called, "Secretary's Day" but is now referred to, in our more politically correct enlightened era as "Administrative Professionals Day." (Never mind that an "administration professional" is a nebulous term which encompasses all levels of administrators including the bosses themselves, and thus waters down the focus on the secretary - the person who is the actual honoree.)
The fact is, Administrative Professionals Day has now become a week, as so many other yearly celebrations have. The reason being, I suppose, that there simply is not enough time in one single day to bestow all the honors upon the administrative professionals that they deserve. Perhaps even a week is not enough - could there be an administrative professionals month in our future?
As our calendars become more and more crowded with long playing non-event events such as African American History Month, Latino Heritage Month, Asian Pacific Islander Month, and Himalayan Cultural Month, let us at this time turn our attention to that one day which was established as a national holiday 95 years ago to honor someone who really does deserve to be honored - mother.
Mother's Day as we know it was started in 1907 by Anna Jarvis, a school teacher in Philadelphia, who began a movement to set up a national Mother's Day in honor of her mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis. She solicited the help of hundreds of legislators and prominent businessmen to create a special day to honor mothers. The first Mother's Day observance was a church service honoring Anna's mother. At that time Anna handed out her mother's favorite flowers, white carnations, representing sweetness, purity, and patience.
Anna was no dummy. In 1912 she trademarked the phrases "second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day" and created the Mother's Day International Association. Anna's hard work finally paid off in the year 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in honor of mothers.
It's interesting to note that Anna was very specific concerning the apostrophe in Mother's Day; it had to be a singular possessive, for each family to honor their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world. This is also the spelling used by Wilson in the law making it an official U.S. holiday and by Congress. Slowly and gradually the Mother's day became very popular and gift giving activity increased. All this commercialization of the Mother's day angered Anna as she believed that the day's sentiment was being sacrificed at the expense of greed and profit.
Anna would probably be happy to know that Mother's Day never grew into Mother's Month and it probably never will. However the day has been hijacked somewhat by the politically correct forces in our society of late in an effort to turn it into an observance of women's breast cancer awareness day. This is like turning Father's Day into testicle cancer awareness day. Mother's Day should be the day that is set aside to honor one's mother, period. Do cancer awareness at another time, please. August would be a good month for example. Nothing much goes on in August.
The 5th Commandment states "Honor your father and mother." In America we as a nation do exactly that on the second Sunday in May and the third Sunday in June every year. As individuals, of course, we should honor our parents all year 'round. As far as religion is concerned, to honor doesn't mean to love, to excuse, to respect, or even to forgive. It means only to honor. Showing honor to your parents is the commandment. Loving and respecting is an extra special plus, so if you have parents that you dearly love and respect, as I did, then so much the better and good for you!
It has been over 3 years now since my mother has been gone and not a day goes by that I don't miss her terribly. This Mother's Day I wish I could again look into her eyes and tell her how much she has meant to me, how grateful I am for all she did for me, and yes, how much I loved her. I will never be able to do that anymore. Thank G-d I did it when I had the chance - Mom knew how much I loved her.
Remember your mother this Mother's Day and honor her. I will remember mine and I continue to honor her.
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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