Even as we celebrate mothers and motherhood all the year round, the occasion of Mother’s Day brings with it a distinct significance, where we go beyond our duty to honour our mothers, and dedicate our love, care and devotion to the central role they play in our daily lives.
Celebrations take different forms, depending on the circumstances and traditions of families. Those celebrations are a testament to the rich diversity of our nation, emboldened by the fact that the central theme remains constant – the expression of affectionate gratitude for the sacrifices our mothers made to give us the lives we have today.
This year, our nation is experiencing tremendous challenges and the role of ‘mother’ is amplified as we consider our response to issues that test our resilience and our ability to adapt.
‘Mother’ is the one who cares for us, protects us, teaches us, provides for us and counsels us. As we find our vulnerabilities exposed by the challenges we face, we appreciate exactly how much the role of the State must aspire to resemble that of the role of mothers.
In the recent months, thousands of our citizens have had to adjust to different conditions brought on by the onslaught of crime and violence, unemployment and increasing food prices. We are a people who have become fearful, anxious, burdened and weary; issues made worse by a continuous reprimand to bear these burdens in silence.
These are the moments we instinctively seek out our mothers, for comfort, for someone who would listen, and for someone who would guide us firmly but compassionately.
While we face these challenges together, amidst the worry and anxiety, the silver lining for us must be to restore in our minds and in the national consciousness, the importance of mothers as people, and as an ideal. It is an approach I worked to instil in the operations of Government, and one that I now strive to instil as the people’s representatives in the Opposition.
As we seek that silver lining together, let us also remember the principles and values that our mothers taught us – that whatever the circumstances, we must tell the truth, respect our fellow citizens, work hard and honestly, give with compassion, and take with consideration. Standing firmly in those values we learned from our mothers, we will overcome the challenges, and live to see a better and happier day.
It is with that great hope that I join hands with the people of Trinidad and Tobago in wishing all mothers a very peaceful and joyful celebration.
To those whose mothers have passed on, remember how we were taught that even when our mothers are not around, the values they taught us keep them every present in our minds and hearts.
To those families where fathers have taken on the role of mothers, we give special recognition and express the hope that as these fathers care for their families, they can also influence those men and women who have gone astray and turned away from their responsibilities as parents.
The famous writer, Rudyard Kipling has given us one of the most enduring affirmations of motherhood, that “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” If by the time our challenges are behind us, we are left with the choice of bearing bitter scars, or gaining new wisdom, we can truly honour motherhood by ensuring that we choose wisdom.
A Happy Mother’s Day to one and all.