Mother’s Day is Not a Happy Day for All Children: Three ideas for celebrating with sensitivity

While for many of us Mother’s Day is a day of joy, of deep gratitude and overwhelming feelings of love, I want to remind you that 1 in 8 children will loose a parent before they are teens so there is a good chance that at least one child in every congregation and school classroom has a mother who has died. For these children, creating Mother’s Day gifts and cards can be difficult.

One half of all children have experienced the divorce of their parents and many have a step mother now… so two mommies. Making one craft or card is very difficult for them. And many children do not have mothers who shower them with love and care but rather with abuse and negative comments each day.

Should we throw out Mother’s day because it can be difficult? Of course not. We just need to add in a little sensitivity. I suggest three things:

1) Know the children in your care.

The better you know your children the more likely you will know which ones have lost a parent, which ones live with step mothers and which ones have a difficult relationship with their mother. Knowing the situation helps you be prepared. For example, you can speak ahead of time to the child without a mother and ask him/her how they would like to handle the day. Perhaps they could make a card for their granny or for a woman you know who does not have a child and would love a card.

2) Be prepared to make 2 gifts

Buy a few extra flowers, cards or whatever you are making. Then kids who have a mom and step mom can make two gifts. This will eliminate sooo much stress off of the child as they try to decide which parent to give the gift to.

3) Consider a Mother’s Day Ritual

Set out three candles.

Light the first candle in honor of mothers and step-mothers who are living and involved in the lives of the children (10 seconds of silent prayer).

Light the second candle in memory of mothers who have died and who are deeply missed (10 seconds of silent prayer).

Light the third candle for those women who wanted to be mothers and were unable and for those mothers who struggle to be loving and kind (10 seconds of silence).

Then bless the children saying: Some of you have a mother who is here today and who loves you very much. Some of you have a mother and a step mommy. Some of you have no mommy here today because they have died or live far away. On this Mother’s day, I want to remind you that you are a blessing. You are loved, your are amazing and you bless others!

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