The Token Conservative

By and

I don’t have any right to criticize feminism, but I’d like to pontificate on what I see as the purpose of life.

Since we’ll all be long gone by the time Mother’s Day rolls around, I decided to write a column to mothers now.

I want to pay tribute to the dedication that mothers show their children.

My own mother was promised a long time ago that if she made her children her first priority in life, it would bring her joy. I don’t know how well my siblings and I have come through on that, but I can attest that my mother has always made us her first priority.

A mother who sacrifices for her children is akin to a god. The Christ and the Buddha both were entitled to something grander than what our petty, filthy world has to offer. But they gave up their lives to enhance, some even say save, the lives of lesser, undeserving beings. Isn’t that what a mother does?

Because of how I was raised, it is difficult to express the horror and revulsion I experienced after reading Kate Chopin’s The Awakening in the 12th grade. The main character feels so unfulfilled that she leaves her husband and children and walks out into the ocean to kill herself.

It is not my place, nor the purpose of this column, to comment on the difficulty women experience in trying to balance inner yearnings with societal expectations.

I would argue, however, that just as motherhood is akin to godliness, selfishness is the creed of hell.

Any philosophy that encourages selfishness, in either men or women (or in anybody really), should be totally rejected.

There is a pernicious idea taught by both religions and universities that self-fulfillment is the supreme goal of mankind. I have met Buddhist nuns who left family to achieve their full potential in a monastery.

In my opinion, any mother on the street has more compassion, wisdom, maturity and intelligence than those nuns. Real personal fulfillment requires a selfless life philosophy.

There’s an article in the March 24 Chronicle of Higher Education about Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, the scholar who coined the phrase: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

The article points out the irony that Ulrich is a Mormon grandma who is very well-behaved. She’s also a Pulitzer Prize winning historian and one of only 19 distinguished professors at Harvard University.

In the article, Ulrich says she opposes “the kind of feminism that says: Women can kill themselves.” That’s not progress, she said.

Instead of fearing that her female graduate students will drop out after having a baby, Ulrich was quoted as saying she makes them a baby-blanket and celebrates with them. She wrote her dissertation while raising five children.

Former Gov. Olene Walker achieved a similar feat. There are women all around us who have made incredible contributions to society while also embodying the ideals of motherhood.

Men, and all human beings, can look to these women as honorable exemplars not only of selflessness, but also of godliness.

This May, Mother’s Day should provide a good opportunity to reflect on the truth that only by losing ourselves can we ever hope to become fulfilled.