Catechism students celebrate Mother’s Day every year. Some years ago, on one occasion, a Catechist of Grace Church Margao, asked the students of his Confirmation Class, to write a letter to their Mothers. He said. “You can write whatever comes to your mind. Your thoughts and your feelings”. He then walked around the class, observing them. He noticed, some girls seated together looking pensive and had not yet started writing. So he asked them, “Why did you not begin to write?”. About 3 or 4 of them together replied saying, “They are partial to their sons”. The Teacher aged 55 years, was taken aback as he did not expect such a statement from them. He was not aware that such discrimination prevailed. He thought for a while and addressed the emotional distress they go through for no fault of theirs.
He said to them, “I feel sad and upset. I don’t know how best to deal with this matter. What comes to my mind now, is a question i.e. if you harbour such thoughts in your mind and even if you think it is justified, will you not begin to feel resentment towards your Mother and that in turn may cause hostile behavior from you? These injurious thoughts and behavior can hamper your concentration in studies. This in turn badly affects your present and your future. So, I think the best option for your own benefit, is to think of whatever good your Mother has done for you”.
He continued. “You could carry out the following exercise later at home. Go back in time. See yourself as a foetus being nurtured and nourished in your mother’s womb for nine months. After you were born, your development from babyhood to childhood, and from childhood to adolescence. Surely, your Mother has fulfilled at least your minimum requirements. Otherwise, how could you reach the present stage you are in now? Recall how in times of illness she was by your side and when required, spent sleepless nights to nurse you back to health.
He quoted God’s Command, “Honour your Father and Mother”. He continued, “The command does not say; ‘honour them only if they are good’. Let us look into an example assuming what two daughters from two different families experienced. The name of one girl is Amanda and the other is Sheryl. Amanda does not see any favoritism from her Mother towards her brother/s, while sometimes, Sheryl notices it from her own Mother. Sheryl feels sad and upset. She remembers God’s command and continues to respect her Mother.
We can rightly assume that the good behavior towards their Mothers from both the girls are now in the presence of God and God appreciates both of them. A question for you is: “whether the degree of appreciation from God, is the same for both the girls, or Sheryl receives more appreciation?” The Catechist is not able to recollect now what exactly their reply was. But he feels they seemed thoughtful.
Measures: Remedial and Preventive
- One of the remedial measures for the aggrieved daughter is to air her grievance to her mother, preferably after a short prayer. So, this gives an opportunity to the mother to respond appropriately.
- One of the preventive measures is to apply Jesus’s Teaching, “Do to others what you would want them to do to you” (Mathew 7:12 and Luke 6:31). We are informed that this is a Universal Teaching expressed differently in seven Faiths, including Brahmanism and Islam.
Recently on inquiring with four mothers, three of them replied saying they are aware of this unfair treatment and the fourth one who has both a son and a daughter replied (on 16th September) saying, “My daughter always complains that I am partial towards her brother”. The Catechist briefed the mother of the harm she inflicts on her daughter and suggested remedial measures to undo the hurt caused.
This article could be beneficial to Non-Christians also.
(Former Catechist of Grace Church, Margao)