:) “If your parents never had children, chances are you won’t, either.”
Dick Cavett, US comedian
“Sooner or later we all quote our mothers.”
did your mother like to say often? Did she have a favorite saying
“Never marry a man who hates his mother,
because he'll end up hating you.” Jill Bennett
“Don’t call me an icon. I’m just a mother
trying to help.” British Princess of Wales Diana (1961 - 1997) (icon
= someone famous who is admired by many people and is thought to represent
an important idea)
These quotes tell us that our mothers have a big impact on our lives, even
long after we have grown up. Princess Diana called herself “just a
mother,” which shows that even famous mothers sometimes don’t realize how
important their role is. Tonight we will look at many more quotes, which
will help us discuss motherhood. Feel free to ask if you need help
understanding some of these quotes. I’m sure someone in this group can
help translate if necessary.
What is a mother?
:) “Children aren’t happy with
nothing to ignore,/ And that's what parents were created for.” Ogden Nash
(1902 - 1971) US poet & humorist
:) “God could not be everywhere, and so he made mothers! --Jewish proverb
“A mother is not a person to lean on but a
person to make leaning unnecessary.” Dorothy C. Fisher (1879 - 1958)
Tell us one way that your mother helped you to “stand up” or become
“A mother is the truest friend we have,
when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the
place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine,
desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and
endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of
darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” Washington Irving (meaning:
When bad things happen, or when good times turn to bad times, or when
friends leave us because of some trouble, a mother is our truest
friend—she sticks by us and her words help the trouble go away so that
peace can return.)
According to these quotes, a mother is your truest friend, someone who
teaches children to stand on their own, someone who can “always be there
for you,” and someone most of us ignore. Which quote do you agree with or
disagree with the most?
American TV personality Oprah Winfrey said, “Biology
is the least of what makes someone a mother.” If “biology” (i.e., the
ability to give a child birth) alone doesn’t make someone a mother, what
What do you like or dislike about
this next quote, and can you explain what the author means? “The moment a
child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before.
The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely
Is motherhood a difficult job?
“Sometimes the laughter in mothering is the
recognition of the ironies and absurdities (荒谬).
Sometime, though, it’s just pure, unthinking delight.” Barbara Schapiro (meaning:
both crazy and joyful situations can make mothers laugh)
“Being a full-time mother is one of the
highest salaried jobs... since the payment is pure love.” Mildred B.
:) “My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed
it.” Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)
Did your mother “have trouble with
you”? Did she see this as a challenge or a problem?
“At work, you think of the children you
have left at home. At home, you think of the work you’ve left unfinished.
Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself. Your heart is rent.” Golda
Meir (former Israeli President) (meaning: a mother has two
jobs that tear her apart, and she is always being pulled by either her
work “job” or her family “job”)
“The central struggle of parenthood is to
let our hopes for our children outweigh our fears.” Ellen Goodman (1941 -
What are some of your mother’s
“fears” for you? What are her “hopes” for you?
Do you think motherhood is a
difficult job? Why or why not?
Does our relationship to our
mother change over time?
:) “A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother
the longest.” Irish Proverb
:) “When a woman is twenty, a child deforms her; when she is thirty, he
preserves her; and when forty, he makes her young again.” Leon Blum
“A mother never realizes that her children
are no longer children.” Holbrook Jackson (1874 - 1948) English
journalist, editor, author
Does our relationship to our mother
change over time? Is that good, bad, or something in between? Explain your
William Dean Howells (1837-1920 US, author) said,
“A man never sees all that his mother has
been to him until it's too late to let her know he sees it.” What have you
learned about your mother in the last two or three years? Have you let
your mother know what you have learned? Why or why not? If you could say
one thing to your mother right now, what would it be?
How to be a good parent:
“The art of mothering is to teach the art
of living to children.” Elain Heffner (2003)
“Children need more models than critics. A
pint of example is worth a gallon of advice.” unknown (meaning:
a child’s ears hear mothers complain and give advice, but a child’s
eyes learn by watching how their mothers live)
What is the difference between what
our mothers tell us (to our ears) and what they teach us
(show to our eyes)? Which is more important and why?
“This is part of the essence of motherhood,
watching your kid grow into her own person and not being able to do
anything about it. Otherwise children would be nothing more than pets.”
Heather Armstrong, Dooce, 11-15-2005 (meaning: you want your
pet to always obey you and be near you; mothers watch children become
Pearl Buck (who grew up in China;
1892 - 1973) said, “Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding
mothers, but it is love just the same.” Is your mother the kissing
kind, the scolding kind, or something else? Which is best?
Jill Churchill said, “The most
important thing she had learned over the years was that there was no way
to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” What are some
of the “million ways” to be a good mother?