Smith: Mothers shape and shepherd

Smith: Mothers shape and shepherd

May 12th, 2014 By Robin Smith in Opinion Columns

Robin Smith

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Yesterday, mothers were honored for their roles in the lives of their children and their gifts to society as a whole.

Last week, the NBA's 2013-14 Most Valuable Player, Kevin Durant, took his moment of recognition to pay tribute to his mom.

With his tear-dampened face, the 6-foot-9-inch Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder called his mother "the MVP."

As he cited her dogged encouragement and sacrifice, the crowd of hundreds gathered to honor a top-performing athlete stood to its feet in applause for Wanda Pratt.

Durant noted that "the odds were stacked against us" in heralding this working mom and single parent who "made me run up a hill ... [made] me do push-ups" and "kept us off the streets, put clothes on our backs and food on the table. When [she] didn't eat, [she] made sure we did ..."

The words "I love you, Mom" coming from a gentle giant in his moment of achievement were the sweetest salute to his greatest fan.

Mother's Day, celebrated on the second Sunday in May each year, began in 1908 after Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis. The elder Jarvis was known for caring for the wounded soldiers from both sides during the Civil War and created "Mother's Day Work Clubs" to address public health issues.

The role of moms in 2014 comes with no uniform job description. Some are in nuclear families with the job of chief operating officer of the household. Some mothers are chief operating officers of businesses. Some work two jobs to make enough money to outlast the month.

All moms I know have a genetic trait built into their DNA, and it's called sacrifice.

Moms sacrifice their time to prioritize the kids' school, music lessons, sports leagues and Bible study. Moms are multitaskers who find baseballs, empty juice boxes, dirty socks and melted fruit chews in the floorboards of their cars. Moms have the ripped hosiery and "urp" on the shoulders of blouses.

After being diagnosed with cancer, Erma Bombeck, a writer and columnist known for her observations of suburbia, penned an essay titled "If I Had My Life to Live Over." One of her points captured her role of mother in a special way.

"Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment, realizing that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle."

Mothers have the true honor and value to shape and to shepherd their children's hearts, minds and actions. What a responsibility and a joy.

The fingerprints of our mothers leave indelible marks that, hopefully, transfer as love, grace, faith, hope, vision and grit to us. We, in turn, touch our children with uniqueness to continue the legacy of family. Moms mold and fashion the human race.

King Solomon ended his writings in Proverbs by describing the woman to "be praised." Of the attributes honoring the value of this woman, he paints a picture of a mom who "works with eager hands," who is "clothed in strength and dignity," "does not eat the bread of idleness" and whose "children arise and call her blessed."

Mothers everywhere, please know you are loved and valued.

Robin Smith served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party, 2007 to 2009. She is a partner at the SmithWaterhouse Strategies business development and strategic planning firm and serves on Tennessee's Economic Council on Women.