What is a mother?

Thoughts on Mother's Day 2017

These are familiar English phrases about giving, about truth, about sustainability, about trustworthiness, about beauty.  As such, they are also a clue that whether female or not, whether parent or not, whether children or adults, on some level, each of us is experienced as “mother” by someone—and each of us has been a mother to someone whether technically or not.

That is because to be a mother is to be wise and to be emotionally available.

What does that mean?

An emotionally available person listens, hears, and unconditionally supports-- with engaged, honest, verbal and non-verbal feedback--our decision making process.  

An emotionally available person consistently affirms us a person and our good character.  

Emotional availability is something that can be communicated and felt in seconds or over a lifetime, and any time in between.

There are many people who are physically present but persistently emotionally unavailable, and there are people who are not physically present but are always emotionally available.  How lucky we are when we have both; physically and emotionally there for us.  This is the quality “mothering” we all need.

When we "mother" we commit to caring about and being cared about by any other human beings, those we know and those we have never even met. Understanding and living this way, we make the world a happier, healthier, and safer place for everyone.  

- Marcie Lee MSW '79

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