As a foreigner to China, I was not surprised to learn that China has adopted the custom of celebrating Mother's Day. Chinese culture is characterized by strong family values and deep respect shown by children to their parents, grandparents and other relatives.
There are many other reasons, personal, historical and social, that I join whole heartedly in wishing Happy Birthday to all mothers, in China and elsewhere. As the oldest of six children I enjoyed a close relationship to both my mother and my grandmother. Because I lived for a number of years in the same city as my grandmother who lived to be 97, I benefitted greatly from a close relationship with her as well. My mother passed away over a decade ago in May and not a day goes by that I do not think of her and thank her for the many sacrifices she made so that I may have a better life than she enjoyed. So Mother's Day brings back very poignant memories. And, looking to the future, my youngest daughter will have her first baby in September and become a mother and me a Grandfather. I am very excited about being able to develop with my grandchild the same close relationship I enjoyed.
My understanding is that when Mother's Day was adopted in China it was especially designed to acknowledge the mothers in the poor rural areas and the great sacrifices they were making to keep things going. Throughout history, mothers have kept things going, and have "carried on", through wars, poverty, disease and adversity.
It is important on this day that we do not take for granted the tremendous contributions that Chinese mothers and mothers everywhere have made to their families and to the society in general. Mothers are of necessity multi-taskers. They are workers who are often unpaid or underpaid, and who do not have regular time off, do not really have holidays.
When sons, and especially daughters, themselves become parents it becomes clear to them the incredible strength, resilience, love and courage of their parents. This is not to say mothers are perfect, but that their contribution is vital and should be honored and celebrated.
We hear much talk lately about Chinese Dream. In many respects that dream begins with mothers who dream of a better world for their children. Collectively, the dream of all mothers across China will get its start and its spark through the collective efforts of China's mothers. As poet and author Alice Walker wrote,
"And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see – or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read."
British novelist and Nobel Prize winner Rudyard Kipling wrote that "God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers." I think we would all say that this was one invention that for humankind was an absolute necessity.
The author is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit: http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/eugeneclark.htm
Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.