Friday, August 26, 2011
"Don't let them tell you it can't be done."
Those are a few of the words written by Jack Layton, New Democratic Party leader and Canada's Leader of the Opposition, in his letter to Canadians. Jack Layton is sadly no longer with us, but we are still here.
"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world."
Those are more words from Jack's letter. But who is the "we" he is referring to? It is all of us, really. But more than ever, it is and needs to be mothers. Mothers are predominantly the caregivers of the world. They care for their children, their parents, their spouses, and themselves. Mothers face challenges and see problems every day that need to be addressed. Mothers see the injustice, the gaps, the patriarchal systems.
But we are not just mothers. We are also economists, journalists, lawyers, business owners, first responders, politicians, scientists, teachers and more. Mothers have a skill set that allows us to intellectually weave together the public and the private, the personal and the societal, the tangible and the intangible. We see the world in a multidimensional fashion.
But we're also tired. Mothers are often earning a living while caring for three generations of their family. Mothers are often martyrs, although they shouldn't have to be. And many mothers face the simple, yet complex problem that there is no one to care for their children if they want to go out and change the world.
That isn't to say that it cannot be done. Mothers have power and knowledge and ideas and they also face barriers and challenges to true participation in changing the world. For some mothers, the missing link is role models, inspiration, and ideas. They may see the problems, but don't yet know how to build solutions or bridge gaps. For those mothers with fires burning inside of them but don't know where to start or for those mothers who are still searching for a spark, I have a book for you.
When I was at the Motherhood Activism, Advocacy, Agency Conference in Toronto in May, I picked up a copy of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement's new book entitled The 21st Century Motherhood Movement: Mothers Speak Out on Why We Need to Change the World and How To Do It.
The book is full of stories of mothers, both individually and through groups, who have taken on the world, advocated for change, and made the world a better place for mothers, their children, and human beings in general. The book covers themes so diverse in its 81 chapters divided into 7 sections across almost 1000 pages that it is impossible to try to list or summarize them. The book is not a light read, but individual chapters on their own can provide the inspiration or fuel needed to push forward or tackle a challenge.
If you like the sound of this book, I have good news for you. Courtesy of Blue Milk (who authored one chapter of the book) and Demeter Press (the publisher), I have one copy of the book to give away to one of my readers, anywhere in the world. But there is a catch. I want you to share your thoughts with me and my readers.
Tell me, in your own words:
Why does the world need to change?
How can we, as mothers, contribute to that change?
On September 3, I will use a random number generator to identify the winner of the book from the comments received. I will contact the winner by e-mail to inform them that they won and to get their mailing address. If I don't hear back from the winner within a couple of days, I'll draw again.