It’s an often used, perhaps to the point of being cliché, phrase that behind every great man there is a great woman. While it is a phrase that has proven to be true on many occasions, a more general and possibly more accurate reading would be, ‘behind every great person there lies great support’.
There are various places from which a person can receive this form of support, but the home is usually one of the most natural and dependable places that a person can go to. A great family to me is one that provides the foundational support for each and every member and hence empowers them to pursue their dreams and goals.
Great support requires an element of consistency and there is something that is needed to hold a family together for it to sustain the support that it offers. I believe that the glue that is required is sacrificial love; a willingness to give of one’s self for the benefit of those they love. Why? Mainly because giving real support requires the giving of one’s time, energy and emotions. It is always a sacrifice.
Amazingly but perhaps not surprisingly, it is often mothers who are willing to dish out this kind of love. There are stories aplenty of mothers who have given up and sacrificed their own desires in order to be a support to their families. There are mothers who leave the marketplace in order that they can be at home during a child’s vital developmental years. There are also mothers who work multiple jobs so that they can give their family a better life.
I personally know of a single mother who is in her late 60s and yet continues to clean houses in order to have sufficient income to make ends meet for her and her daughter, who chooses to remain unemployed. Fighting against physical deterioration, she presses on to work convinced that ceasing to do so will end all her hopes of seeing her daughter find work and achieve in life.
Mothers do seem to have this innate ability to put their family before themselves and to some extent it is the natural thing for mothers to do. However, we would do well not to be deceived into thinking that mothers owe it to us to love in the way that they do. No, to love sacrificially is a costly decision that many mothers choose to take on a consistent basis.
What is more astounding still is that many mothers take this decision without expecting much in return. They, like the mother I mentioned earlier, often see their reward in witnessing their family achieve greater things, regardless of how small these ‘things’ are. Yet, they do deserve so much more in return. Our expression of love should and must go further than the recognition we give them during Mother’s Day and other special occasions; it must go into the every day.
Let’s take the time to reflect on how we can love and support our mothers consistently. For the amount they give is great and the role they play is vital. Behind many great people there is a great family, but behind every great family there is a great mother.
A huge shout-out to all mothers out there, including my beloved mom, who have given and continue to give of themselves so that we can be who we are today. Have a great Mother’s Day!
This week’s guest writer is Abraham Ponniah, a 22-year-old Economics undergraduate at the Singapore Management University.