Happy Mother’s Day

If Easter is the most important day on the Christian calendar and ANZAC Day is for our nation, then Mother’s Day could be considered the most important day for families. The origins of Mother’s Day in Australia stem back following the American Civil War in the 1860s form calls of peace and anti-war campaigns. American writer and women’s rights activist Julia Ward appealed to women to unite and bring peace throughout the world. She proposed a Mother’s Day each year to commemorate peace. It took several decades to reach an agreement and in 1914 US President Woodrow Wilson officially declared the second Sunday in May to be Mother’s Day.

In Australia, it was not until 1924 following the terrible years of World War I that Mother’s Day was first held in Australia. Moved by the tragic circumstances of mothers who had lost their husbands and sons in the Great War, Sydney woman Janet Heyden started a tradition of comforting and recognising these women. Local schools and businesses got behind a campaign to donate gifts for women who had sadly lost loved ones.

Fast forward to today and the modern-day Mother’s Day is much more aligned with the recognition that families unite and come together to celebrate love, peace and harmony and the central role of mother in the family. However, in our modern times it has a broader celebration of a special day for all women.

Sadly, my mother passed away far too young, but I remember her each day in my heart and in my thoughts. Mothers have unique gifts when it comes to looking after children. I remember well when I was about 10 years old, I had a disagreement about something I cannot even remember and so I had decided to run away. Well, I took off on my bike and cycled somewhere. After a few hours, it dawned on me and I began to wonder how long I could last, where I might go, what I could do and decided that there was no alternative but to go home. I vividly remember when I got home, my mother saying to me that she had made my favourite dinner and never even talked about the disagreement or the circumstances other than moving on with the day. Mothers have these wonderful nurturing gifts which bring happiness to the family. When I remember my mother-in-law, I have absolute admiration for her love for her family. Sadly, she passed away too young as well – yes, my wife and I are orphans. She may well have driven us insane by leaving the taps on and flooding the kitchen, leaving the taps on outside and flooding the garden but all of that is insignificant to the things she did for her children and grandchildren. We learn much from our parents and certainly our mothers, so this Sunday is our special Mother’s Day and we wish all mothers a Happy Mother’s Day!

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, a Catholic secondary co-educational school (7-12) in the southern region of Adelaide with a total of 1120 students and 140 staff. Marcellin is a campus of Cardijn College. It provides students in Years 10 to 12 with SACE, training and apprenticeships. It has an enrolment of over 155 students and 30 staff. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

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