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Great mothers for our generation and the next

May 12, 2019

Great verses have been woven from the fibers of great mothers’ unconditional love for their children. For rightly so, at this time of year at least, they deserve the loads of odes dedicated to them by the souls they have brought out into this world and nurtured into warm-bodied human beings for a chance at greatness in their lifetime.

The wise prophets of age past, as well as the heroes of our time, all had mothers who must have cared for them at least in the days of their youth, regardless of their awareness of the fact that they were loved even before birth.

We never had a say on where we should be born and to whom, but to have a beginning, however humble, in the care of a mother or a loving, mother-like presence to nurture us into young adulthood is in itself a good start to make something worthwhile of our existence. Where we differ is how we make our individual lives count.

Many of those who have chosen greatness, or had an opportunity to live a life beyond the ordinary, have credited their mothers for their success. From “History’s Greatest Moms” by Suzanne Raga, published on the mentalfloss.com website, we are given the example of the sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams. He said of his mother Abigail: “My mother was an angel upon earth. She was a minister of blessing to all human beings within her sphere of action. Her heart was the abode of heavenly purity.” Abigail Smith Adams (1744 to 1818), whose husband John Adams was a political philosopher and the second US President, had to run their farm and household of five children singlehandedly. She also fought hard for the abolition of slavery and equal rights for women in America.

Scientist Marie Curie (1867-1934) was also mentioned as sharing a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 with her husband Pierre and another scientist Henri Becquerel, who discovered spontaneous radioactivity. The Curies shared the award for contributing further study on it. Marie became known as the first woman to win a Nobel, while she was also raising their two young daughters alone after Pierre died in an accident three years later. She taught them this lesson: “one must do some work seriously and must be independent and not merely amuse oneself in life.” Her daughter later co-won the Nobel in Chemistry with her husband for their further work on radioactivity.

From Asia, we have the great examples of India’s former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) and China’s Lou Xiaoying. Gandhi dedicated her life to fighting inequality, unemployment and food shortages in her country. Her son Rajiv became Prime Minister after his mother was assassinated in 1984. Xiaoying, a poor scavenger, supported herself and managed to adopt and raise 30 babies she found in the trash starting in 1972.

In the Philippines, of course, stories of great suffering mothers abound. But on this day of mothers, the great heroines of our history deserve mention for their bravery and motherly love for their country.

Known as the “Mother of Balintawak” or “Mother of Katipunan,” Melchora Aquino (1812-1919) offered her home to help the wounded Katipuneros fighting to defend the Filipinos against their Spanish conquistadors in the 1896 Philippine Revolution. Another woman who fought alongside male generals and nursed several wounded Katipuneros was Trinidad Tecson, who later became known as “Ina ng Biak-na-Bato” and “Mother of the Philippine Red Cross.”

Perhaps for the millennials and the generation after them, a more familiar name of a supermom, or stepmom, for that matter, would be Frigga, the Asgardian goddess who raised the prince of thunder, Thor, in the famous comics and movie series The Avengers.

Surely, these are not the women Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978), the 38th vice president of the US, had in mind when he wrote: “Behind every successful man is a proud wife and a surprised mother-in-law.”

They are the sort of mothers our society badly needs for their ability to raise great men who can grow wise enough to selflessly plant trees that will provide shade, not for them old men to sit in, but for the next generations to enjoy.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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