One of my favorite topic in Geometry is that of “perspective.” I think that I like it so much because I first tasted this topic in high school, as a student of art. There, I drew pictures of roads and railroads fading off into the horizon, and made buildings look realistic by having lines converge into a point on that horizon. I found myself thinking of the idea of perspective as our city recently held a primary election for a local government position. It was one which a woman, a friend of our family, succeeded in winning. I was particularly happy to see this happen, especially after the election results for another woman (imperfect like us all,) running for another office, not all that long ago. Indeed, our friend’s success restored my hope in the possible shattering of more glass ceilings with perspectives given to us by women.
These past six months have been ones in which I have struggled to continue to believe, in spite of recent current events, that women will someday also assume roles as the ultimate leaders in our country. I, along with many other women, had entered that election with very specific hopes. I had hoped to share with my daughter the moment when a woman would be elected president of our great country. However, I found myself in disbelief as the election results were announced that night last November. No, there was not to be a moment in history, shared with my daughter, who would be there to learn the truth that women were called to play a decisive role in the future of our country and the world. Instead, there was a night spent checking the election results every hour, as my vision for the future my daughter would live in was continuously revised.
Learning of our friend’s success, I began to believe that, perhaps, the vision that many felt slip away last November had not been completely blocked from view. Maybe my daughter can, in the end, grow up in a world in which the perspective and wisdom of women is sought and valued. Reflecting on this hopeful thought reminded me of another woman who found her voice after examining the carnage left by several wars during the middle of the nineteenth century. Looking at the results of fighting in the United States and Europe, she concluded that there must be a better way, and that, perhaps, women, especially women who are mothers, had a special role to play in designing just where that “better way” was to be found. And so, Juliet Ward Howe, best known for putting the “Halleluiahs” into “Glory, Glory,” spoke to the women of her time and asked them to abandon society’s ways of war and to work, instead, for peace. Her proclamation (http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-proclamation.html) still inspires me when I become frustrated with militaristic decision often made by the leaders of the world.
“Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: "We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
This proclamation eventually led to the creation of the holiday we celebrate this weekend. It looks very different dressed in “Hallmark” cards, but Mother’s Day still recognizes the important role played by women, especially those who are mothers, in building a better world. And so, to all my readers who “mother” in some way, I am wishing you a wonderful weekend and salute your important role in creating a future we can be proud to pass along to our children.
My daughter and her peers are counting on you. They are counting on us.