A little late for Mothers’ Day, but…

Posted: May 14, 2009 in Uncategorized

So for our service on Sunday we had a panel of four guys answering questions about mothers and motherhood (from the other side, so to speak) and for my sins I got to be one of them. I had a couple of questions posed but there was one that was quite interesting and I would be curious to know what others thought of it.

How would you describe a society without the influence of motherhood?

The first thing that came to mind with this question was a story that was told to us by a ranger on one of our visits to Mabula Game Reserve. They had a small herd of elephants on the reserve but they were all young animals and there was no matriarchal leader in the herd. All was fine when the elephants were less than a year old, but as they grew up they began to be a problem, the young males in particular. They roamed the reserve without any checks on their behaviour and without the benefit of having been taught the right way to behave; as a result, they were extremely destructive and even started killing other animals on the reserve. The problems only got sorted out when the reserve brought an older female into the herd, who then took on the role of matriarch and brought all the other elephants into line.

In many ways, that is what I imagine a society would be without the influence of mothers: it would slip into destruction of everything around and, ultimately, of itself. Without mothers, members of the society would be deprived of guidance, which helps teach them right behaviours, and of that early nurturing, which helps teach them to value themselves and others and the community at large.

As much as fathers are more involved with their children these days than in those of my childhood, it’s still the mothers that are in almost all cases the more hands on parent. And as much as my own boys look to me for may things, increasingly so, those early years are dominated by them looking to mom for love, kisses on bruises and the ability to make their world a happier and safer place. And, quite frankly, it’s the boundaries imposed by mom that get tested the most, which suggests that they are seeing those as the rules that should be tested to see whether they are right or not. Some psychological theories suggest that a child’s basic personality is formed by age seven, so the lessons they learn then are things that are carried with them for the rest of their lives and hence into society as they grow. Removing the influence of motherhood would be, I think, make for a cold and destructive world.

What think you?

  1. P.A.N says:

    Look how incredibly well you turned out. Nature or nurture?

  2. veethree says:

    Either way, you get credit!

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