27 November 2017

From the Head of Junior School

A Mother's Touch

In the sixteenth century, a tradition began in the United Kingdom. On a particular Sunday each year, people would visit their 'mother church' (the church they grew up in). Owing to the fact that people didn't move around a lot in those days, people visiting their 'mother church' would be highly likely to be worshipping alongside their own mothers, who had attended the same church for many years. As time moved on, a practice developed whereby young apprentices and women in service were allowed home each year on this weekend, which included the fourth Sunday in Lent. On this weekend, families could be reunited and spend time together. Over time the Church recognised this as a special Sunday, and named it 'Mothering Sunday'. From this tradition, Mother's Day began.

In 1924 in Australia, Janet Heyden began to visit a special home set up for lonely and forgotten mothers. She asked local schools and businesses to donate presents to these women to try to cheer them up. Over time, this practice was taken on by other people and eventually the idea of a Mother's Day or 'Women's Day' developed across the country.

Mother's Day is celebrated in over 146 countries around the world. While the reasons for its beginnings vary, from recognising the birthday of a women, to the importance of saving the lives of children as in Israel with Henrietta Szold, or to remind people of poor mothers as in China. The day has evolved into one universally used to celebrate and recognise all that mothers do for their children.

Mothers fulfil a vital role by helping children look realistically at life's problems without getting lost in them. A mother helps her children to tackle problems courageously and to become strong enough to overcome the problems they inevitably confront.

Of course, in this role a mother walks a fine line, seeking a healthy balance for a child. That means a mother does not always take the child along the safe path because in that way a child cannot develop but neither does she leave the child on a risky pathway because that is dangerous. A mother knows how to balance things.

As a teacher, I get to witness each day what mothers do for their sons. Be that dealing with the small turmoils that can upset the start to the day, helping them manage their things or wiping away their tears.

Mothers, whether they work or not, give so much of themselves each day doing all the things that is too often taken for granted. It is a very difficult task that involves a tremendous amount of skill. Just ask any father who has had to come home and try to do the things his wife does as a matter of course.

Alicia Molik, retired professional tennis player, a doubles grand slam winner, the former number eight in the world who defeated Venus Williams, and a mother of Yannick in Pre-Primary, said at our Mother's Day assembly, in comparison with being a professional tennis player, being a mother is the hardest job she has ever had.

I want to thank the mothers of our school for their dedication and commitment to their boys. I can see in their boys the values and standards they have instilled in them. Their guidance and love for their sons has helped to create fine young men who I know love their mothers very much.

Mr John Stewart
Head of Junior School