This article was previously published in The Bridport News.
Mother’s Day was imported from America in 1907 and is nowadays a boon for the card shops and local restaurants. Mothering Sunday celebrated in churches this week has much deeper roots.
The religious tradition dates back some 400 years when people would attend the largest or ‘mother’ church of the locality on the fourth Sunday of Lent.
It is thought that on Mothering Sunday young people in service in the great houses were allowed home for the day, the girls bearing Simnel cakes and the boy’s posies of wild flowers for their mothers.
Whatever the origins it is an opportunity to reflect and give thanks for family life in all its many and varied forms.
The concept of family seems to be very ancient. I suppose Adam and Eve and their two boys were the first! Families began to change with the Industrial revolution and the social and economic revolution after WWII has led to further massive change.
Although the numbers of religious weddings is increasing, 48% of births today are to couples cohabiting compared with just 8% in 1971.
Families are no longer defined as having one parent of each sex and 2.4 children, although that remains the average.
Today there is a rainbow of forms and types. And if children are brought up in a secure and loving environment who is to say that is wrong?
There were some thirteen divorces an hour in England and Wales in 2010.
Just under 2 million families have a lone parent with some 3 million children. 91% of lone parents are women and a quarter are living in poverty.
Both as a school teacher and latterly a vicar I have pastored those who have been damaged when family life has gone wrong. Hurt can echo through the generations. Family life is to be supported and treasured as it remains the bedrock of our society.
Family life can indeed be tough going at times. Parenting is a hard task. Yet the benefits are surely worthwhile. So a happy and blessed Mothering Sunday!