Think Like a Mother
Over the span of centuries, there have been many mothers in the Vincentian family. Three prominent ones come to mind.
Louise de Marillac (1591-1660), wife, mother, widow, and grandmother, and leader in charity, overcame the social stigma of her birth out-of-wedlock in seventeenth-century France to become a co-founder of the Daughters of Charity (1633), mentor with the Ladies of Charity, and the patron of Christian Social Workers (1960).
Elizabeth Ann Seton was mother to five children of her own and seven of her husband’s orphaned siblings. There were students who leaned on her for maternal guidance, as did a religious community that grew to worldwide proportions. Many people of her own time and since have felt her nurturing comfort and formation.
Catherine O’Regan Harkins-Drake (1834-1911), first American Lady of Charity was a wife, mother, widow, and grandmother, who became a leader in charitable works. She overcame the social stigma against women in nineteenth-century America.
Each mentored their children’s dreams.
Each could tell us what it is like to “think like a mother.”
Mothers as mentors of dreams
It has been said…
All children have dreams. As parents, it is important for us to help them not only visualize their dreams, but to help them realize their full potential so that their lives will be much better than ours. Fellow mothers, let us wake up to the reality that the world is changing, and we the mothers are the agents of change.[ Milly Businge at HuffPost]
Indeed, mothers are some of the most effective systemic change agents on the planet.
Mothers everywhere transform helpless newborns into independent adults, with varying outcomes on health, social fit, career, leadership and spirituality. Mothers generally take pride when their children hit milestones and deliver significant achievements in life.
Think like a mother!
There’s a simple and powerful way to confront the world’s most pressing crises, says women’s rights activist Yifat Susskind in a Ted Talk – think like a mother!
When you think like a mother, you prioritize the needs of the many, not the whims of the few. When you think like a mother, you don’t build a seawall around beachfront property, because that would divert floodwaters to communities that are still exposed. When you think like a mother, you don’t try to prosecute someone for leaving water for people crossing the desert. Because, you know…
Now, not every mother thinks like a mother. When presented with a choice, some of us have made the wrong one, hiding behind weapons or barbed wire or privilege to deny the rest of the world, thinking they can see their way to safety in some kind of armed lifeboat fueled by racism and xenophobia.
Not every mother is a role model, but all of us have a choice. Are we going to jump on that armed lifeboat or work together to build a mother ship that can carry everyone?
You know how to build that mother ship, how to repair the world and ease the suffering. Think like a mother. Thinking like a mother is a tool we can all use to build the world we want.
Reflections and Questions
- Mothers hang in for the long haul. Do we?
- Mothers collaborate with many systems. Do we?
- Mothers realize their children must develop their own approaches. Do we?