SUNDAY REFLECTION FOR MOTHERS’ SUNDAY (5TH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A) WITH FR. ANACLETUS OGBUNKWU

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    ………THE PRIDE OF THE HOME; MOTHER!

We continue to pray God to intervene in this period of Coronavirus infection ravaging the whole world. Amen!

Today gives us an ample opportunity to reflect on some realities as concern our families and the role our mothers play and to pray for families that are in crisis. I salute and congratulate YOU our mothers. In you I can see the glory of God shinning forth: so amorous by nature; so harmless by creation and so amiable to all other creatures; so powerful by emotions that you pour immeasurable love in the family with your instruments of patience, tolerance and understanding. Imagine the family love without the mother! They are like knots tying the family together with their large hearts. Imagine a society without women/mothers! Imagine the church without the mothers! An attempt to imagine these would only give one a jump-breath.

The common question these days is, ‘why is it that children of nowadays quite unlike the olden days no longer listen to their parents as if they have no ears on their heads but rather developing tails on their buttocks’. I come to ask myself when do these tails and stubbornness begin to grow; from the womb? Certainly no! How come then that parents don’t see it in the process of growing rather they see it when it’s fully grown and begin to complain?  Also, why is it that many families no longer experience that homeliness that the family is characteristically known? Why have families today become war grounds where brothers and sister, fathers and mothers draw the sword against the other?  What is actually responsible for this mess? What is the role of the mother when the situation gets to this point? A question for all and a course for REFLECTION!

Unfortunately and doleful enough, the mothers have some responsibility in the above disarray. This responsibility is not of commission but most often of omission. Thus negligence on the various psychological developmental stages of children in the family contribute to a great measure (even to the greatest measure) to the children’s high sense of respect or disrespect, responsibility or irresponsibility, independence or dependence, hardworking or laziness, inferiority complex or superiority complex, stubbornness and pigheadedness or cool headedness. Many a times, parents see their responsibility to their children as merely a financial commitment that begins and ends with feeding, shelter, protection and formal education. Most mothers can’t imagine that parents have other functions beyond these. When we complain the society is the way it is today because parents have failed in their duty most mothers mod their head in pity for those parents who don’t  provide the common functions already mentioned forgetting that child upbringing is much more than the mentioned functions of the parents. Hence there is urgent need to pay attention to the various psychological developmental stages of children from birth. When each of those stages is mishandled the consequential effect is always obvious in the later life of the child and in most cases beyond what the parents may imagine.

When from the oral and anal stages a child is recklessly scolded for every little thing and condemned as a never do well, certainly the same child grows never trusting himself and afraid of everything and everybody. Experts in developmental psychology have proved that when the husband and wife scold each other and fight before the children at their early ages, the children grow to take sides according to whom they have found love; father or mother. Hence if the father then each time such quarrels begin the child feels the mother is so disrespectful and wicked to the father not minding the cause of the quarrels and vise versa. Hence the child begins to unconsciously grow with some bits of doubt of love on the mother such that the only way to express this unconscious feeling is early stubbornness to the mother as a means of revolution and revenge. Unfortunately the child is not consciously aware of whats happening to him or her. The child in the absence of the beloved feels insecure in the house and unsafe longing the return of the beloved. The same is also the case in families where the mother feels, may be because she has greener pastures and income earning she has become the bread winner of the family. When this situation makes her complain so much in the house, the children feel so unsafe, unloved and unrelaxed in the house that they begin to see themselves as burdens to the parents and would dream of the day they would be out of their slave camp (their family). The children would become unnecessarily aggressive at every little provocation because he/she has not been schooled in commitment or patience.

When children are discouraged by loquacious parents who would always scold then even when not necessary (Eph. 6;1-3; Sirach 3; ), who don’t appreciate them for any good thing done; they already begin to develop inferiority complex. This is because the ego is already beaten down by the parents who are supposed to be the first to lift the child’s ego. They would also live to be complainants in everything and most times inpatient and intolerant to others. When parents are drunks, certainly the children are already placed as second class in the society. This is because they begin to lack the moral courage of association lest they are regarded as children of drunks even to air their view among their peer would be a challenge for fear of being reminded their background. Excerpt by God’s grace, this affects even the company the children keep, marriage e.t.c; second class citizens. In themselves they are already disadvantaged in the society.

In the words of our dear mother Dorothy Law Nolte:

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.

Our modern world has a particular form of blindness. We have microscopes to see things very small and telescopes to see distant objects, but non to see closest object such that often we do not see what is closest to us. We live in a funny world. We know more about celebrities than we do about next door neighbors and values – or even those we call “family” and “friends.” So many things distract us from what really matters. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said: “I think the world today is upside down. … We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.” Parents have more time taking their children to cinema and dance clubs but don’t have time to take them for catechism classes.

To our human effort it may not be so easy but let us anchor ourselves to Jesus who loved mothers and blessed them in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To learn from Jesus we must first admit our ignorance, to be healed we must first acknowledge our blindness, to be forgiven we must confess our sins. Let us today admit our spiritual blindness and pray with St Augustine of Hippo in the spirit of Lent and today’s gospel: “Lord that we may see.” The Lord will give us light and spiritual insight.

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