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Honouring Everyone Honours No One

May 17, 2013

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. In my home church (PTC), all the adult women were given a rose to celebrate the occasion. When Father’s Day comes along in a few short weeks, I hope we will only honour the fathers, not all adult males. While this is certainly an issue that the pastoral team has the authority to make and should not require a decision by the board/elders/deacon/ess, I would have voted a strong NO if I had been asked and here’s why.

First, some background. I was a single man for 35 years. Although I was certainly looking for a wife, especially after age 30, and was not always happy or content being single, I was not a father. I had two nephews and a niece and who lived in Three Hills and I enjoyed attending their school events or sports games and having other times of fun with them, including Christmas, birthdays, etc. I was not a father. I did not have that responsibility (and privilege).

Now that Sarah and I have three children, I know the time and energy that its costs to be a father. On more than a few occasions I have wished I could just come home, put a pizza in the oven, grab a Coke, and sit and watch a hockey game or two and relax for the whole evening. But that doesn’t happen when you have three children under the age of 5. I could count on one hand the number of times I have sat down and watched a whole hockey game in the last three years. It just doesn’t happen anymore… because I am a father.

For a mother, the perpetual responsibility of children, especially (?) toddlers, is even more all-consuming! Just as I only need one hand to count the number of complete hockey games I have watched in recent years, I could count the number of full-night sleeps Sarah has had in the past five years on one hand also. When she was younger and single, Sarah too anticipated the days when she would be a mother.

So to honour all adult ladies, married or unmarried, with or without children, on Mother’s Day, seems to insult mothers. It fails to recognize, appreciate, and value the time, energy and work of mothers for the sake of not letting anyone possibly feel unvalued. We feel bad for the single woman who has not married and become a mother or for the married couple who have not been able to have children, and don’t want them to feel worse. Yet in the process of honouring everyone, we honour no one.

Two additional notes (added May 18)

1. Please realize this is, and can only be, a man’s perspective on the issue. I don’t pretend to understand the womanly and/or “emotional” issues involved for (hopefully) obvious reasons. Those notwithstanding, my “argument” still stands, though I remain open to discussion.

2. One facebook commentor pointed to an excellent link that I know was also shared in our church (PTC) shortly after it was posted in 2010 – It is an excellent perspective!



From → Leadership

  1. The church services honoring moms/dads is a tradition, a rather nice one, but ONLY a tradition. It is not something as a church we are commanded to do. Children Honor thy parents, not church!! Mothering Sunday should be down to women to decide. Let the church leaders approach the women folk and ask “would Moms get uppity if the service included ALL women”? Same with the men folk.
    For me as a son, a man, a father, I have no issue with sharing Father’s day with other men. Because in the other areas of my children’s life and in my life, there are and have been “spiritual foster parents” single and married that God used to “parent” me. 90mins out of a whole day given to honoring Men as well as Fathers, is not much to ask to share in my opinion. After-all, I get to be pampered for the rest of the day 😀

  2. Miriam R. permalink

    Hi Steve,
    This is Miriam 🙂 I appreciate your viewpoint and comments, and wholeheartedly agree that mothers and fathers do an amazing amount of “work” for little to no recognition. However, I also see the viewpoint that may have been on the part of the elders (I wouldn’t know, Pete never talked about it with me 😦 ) that all women have the potential to be mothers within their being, and that some who have been physically/biologically “mothers” have not had the inner commitment to that “job” that is necessary to actually bring up a healthy family. So there are women (and men) that act as mothers (and fathers) without ever having had their own children. I remember the founder of Prairie’s nickname being “Daddy Maxwell”, due to the fact that he treat everyone on staff or in the schools as he would his own children – no pomposity there! He had the capacity for being a father in more ways than just biologically doing that.
    Thanks for the thoughts, anyway. The roses for all the women took me by surprise, too – and we ran out 😦
    See ya – Miriam

  3. For me as a woman who would have loved to have a child but never did, I feel awkward when ALL women who have graduated from high school are honoured on Mother’s Day! I’m not a mother, and I am actually uncomfortable when well-meaning people say to me, “Happy Mother’s Day.” Yet I am truly happy for the actual mothers who are so honoured (and none of them to my knowledge have ever “gotten uppity” with those of us who are included in “their” day – rather, it is I who am thrown slightly off kilter …). I get to sleep at night and watch hockey games and go out with friends whenever the urge strikes me. So I think that on this one day we could honour the women who have unselfishly put their own needs and desires on the back burner to raise their children.

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