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[COMMENT: This is an excellent piece, though a small bit
exaggerated. It needs the balance of the fathering side of life.
There is no possibility of mothers being able to complete the homemaking and
child-raising without fathers who are the spiritual heads of their families.
Mothering and fathering cannot be separated. E. Fox]
May 21, 2007
Dear Friend of the Family,
During the recent World Congress of Families IV, in Warsaw, Poland, I was asked to speak on the topic, "The Mother in the Home and the New Home Economics." As most of you were likely not able to attend this historic conference, I would like to share with you a portion of my remarks. The full transcript is available on our website:
I want you to know that I am absolutely convinced that there is no more important work done anywhere in this world than the work that is done within the walls of our individual homes. I am the mother of 13 children and, as such, I understand the vital role mothers play in a healthy society. The great author C. S. Lewis, said, "The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only--and that is to support this ultimate career." My hat goes off to all valiant, hard-working, dedicated makers of homes!
Home life is not easy and there are no perfect homes. As author and educator Neal Maxwell said, "The home gives us our greatest chance to align our public and private behavior, to reduce the hypocrisy in our lives--home life is high adventure! Life in a family means we are known as we are, that our frailties are exposed and, hopefully, we then correct them." The very nature of home life with its constancy, and yes, even from time to time dysfunctional realities, creates the very environment for growth and progression.
We must not let the difficulties of home life obscure the realities of its value. For it is in this setting that the stability of society is manufactured. I share the perspective of Gary Becker, who received the Nobel Peace Prize for economics. He said, "The mother at home raising her children makes a greater contribution to the economy than the father in the work place." Yes, mothers are the key to creating financial and cultural prosperity. How can women in the home with a seemingly limited range of influence affect the financial and cultural prosperity of a nation? Let me share some of the attitudes and insights that have enabled mothers for generations to have far-reaching effects for good on all humanity. The women of today who hold fast to these principles will find themselves joining the ranks of mothers past in manufacturing societal stability and prosperity.
Women must recognize and value their position. I feel concerned when I hear women say in apologetic tones, "Oh I'm just a mom." As if there is something second class about that title. I want moms everywhere to be assured that there is no more important work done anywhere than what is done right in your homes. For you are creating the next generation of responsible citizens and never before has there been a greater need for just that!
I love this quote by Oprah Winfrey. She said, "We should no longer allow a mother to be defined as 'just a mom.' It is on her back that great nations are built. To play down mothering as small--is to crack the very foundation on which greatness stands. The world can only value mothering to the extent that women everywhere stand and declare that it must be so. As we affirm other mothers and as we teach our sons, husbands and friends to hold them in the highest regard, we honor both the mothers whose shoulders we have stood on ... and the daughters who will one day stand tall on ours."
This past year, I have had cause to reflect many times on the joys and responsibilities of parenthood. Through the extensive efforts and good lives of our children, my husband Glade and I had the honor of being selected the United States National Parents of the Year.
Fundamentally, it is a mother's privilege to empower her children and families with virtue and character. The virtues of integrity, love of liberty, honesty, compassion and confidence all are facilitated in the early and constant care of a mother's love. It is upon these virtues that strong civilizations exist.
Mothers who recognize that the development of character is enhanced as they live and value a provident lifestyle, aren't so inclined to live for the moment--or the day to day gratifications that breed selfishness and enslavement. Before the days of the industrial revolution, most families survived in this fashion. It was this very focus of life that created strong families and built noble character. One of the challenges of our day is to value a provident lifestyle and be content to live so even amid industrialized prosperity.
A woman in the home is a great resource for contributing to wealth. Another important resource is the femininity of the mother as the nurturer, the heart of the home, providing the emotional security that allows the virtues of society to be perpetuated. Other key resources are our children, our education, our land, our family heritage and identity. To doubt our potential and our possibilities is to deny the goodness within us. We become women of influence when we recognize, value and use our resources.
Mothers and fathers together have the privilege of creating a work ethic in the home. This contribution is critical to the building of character in family members that converts to responsible adulthood.
As families work together to magnify their resources, in homes, lands, libraries and conservatories, mothers encourage excellence in family members by focusing on building character instead of accomplishment. We are able to minimize competition, envy, and discouragement among family members when we focus on character over accomplishment. Everyone has equal capacity to exercise good character!
Women, regardless of our personal circumstances, whether we work in the home or out of the home, whether we have large families or are a family of one, let us rejoice in our opportunity to build character in our homes knowing that in so doing we are indeed creating economic and cultural prosperity.
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