What’s a Mother to do? The Days After Mother’s Day

Happy belated Mother’s Day one and all!  Because even if we have not given birth, we are all some kind of mother (put the accent where you will), we are all mother’s of invention.

I recently read a blog by a friend of mine, and she got me thinking about this question: What would YOU do to save your son or daughter in a moment when he or she might be putting herself/himself in harms way?

Far too many of our sons and daughters are subject to random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty.  There are not enough random acts of kindness nor senseless acts of beauty to balance the scales of any act of violence or cruelty and there have been far too many acts of violence and cruelty of late. My friend Rosi is right when she says we need to change the social structures. We need to build families, churches, governments, workplaces, media, social welfare systems that foster human dignity, growth and potential, that enable people to empower themselves. And I think we also, concurrently, need to change hearts, minds and actions on the interpersonal, ordinary day level so that the building of those new social structures is conceived in love, dignity and compassion.  And, I think Mother’s Love is just a fine foundation upon which to build all of that.

Here is the blog that spurred my thinking. It comes to us from

CHARLEENALDERFER familygram’s blog https://charleenalderfer.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/whats-a-mother-to-do/.

She posted it on May 6, 2015. I thought it would be appropriate to share it today, the day after Mother’s Day.

Thank You Charleen!


A tall, young black male enters the frame.  He wears a hoodie and jeans and carries the ubiquitous backpack.  He turns occasionally and looks back toward the camera.  In the background is a large gathering of people.  He seems to be headed in their direction. Suddenly, a woman dressed in yellow appears in the frame.  She is moving quickly in the direction of the young man.  While clearly older than he is, she is both matronly and attractive.  Intuitively, one knows she is his mother.  As she closes the distance between them, he continues at his same pace still turning to look toward her.  When she is close enough, she grabs his hoodie and he pulls away.  It is evident that he does not want to do what she is asking.  He reaches out and she grabs his arm with one hand and with other hits him on the head.  Now, we think, he will pull free and run.  But he does not run,.  He continues to resist.  The tug of war goes on and then, slowly, he goes with her.

This street in Baltimore has been in the news for the last few weeks.  It has been the scene of protests, both peaceful a violent. This young man was going to join the protestors in a setting which had turned toward violence. His mother saw him while watching the activity on TV.  She acted on her emotion and her instinct and ran after him to bring him home.  “Violence breeds violence” has been another kind criticism.  Hitting him just perpetuates violence. As a family therapist, I believe this is true if it is persistent and becomes a way of life.  We don’t know if this is the case for this mother and son.

If that were my son, I would do whatever it takes to get him.  My first thought would be that he might become Freddie Gray –   arrested and fatally injured in a police van.  My next thought would be to get him away from angry protesters who could convince him to join them.  I would want him home and safe.  What would a mother do to make that happen?  A slap on the side of the head got his attention.  The truth is that he didn’t resist that much.  He didn’t fight back, he didn’t try to run and he didn’t hit his mother. He could have done any of those things; he could even have pushed her down.  he was bigger, stronger, younger. Instead, he went with her.  Think about it.  What you do to save your son in that moment?