Mother dear mother

If you travel to Mexico city you’ll see an inscription on a monument called: Monumento a la Madre that translates as: “To her who loves us before she meets us”.

I loved that phrase the very first time I read it. What a beautiful testimony to motherhood that I just had to include in this post. The reality of a mother’s care starts when we are in her womb. It continues when we are in her arms after birth and goes on long after that.

Oh mother dear mother where did you learn such love? You learnt it from the creator of all things.

Mama Patterson

A single mother of three boys and a girl, Mama Patterson like all moms had ideas about how to raise her children well. She hoped that her ideas would have an impact on them and the world at large.

She was probably at a loss many times as to whether her plans would succeed, but never the less her motherly instinct of preservation kept her going.

Her favorite encouragement was for the kids to always do what they loved.

Her life created the conditions that allowed an idea to survive and later thrive. That condition was and still is, nurture. Mama Patterson was a nurturer.

We could tell many a tale about every family. But here’s a story about the Patterson family. The one that got me interested.

One Christmas, Mama Patterson told her kids that they had an appointment to go down to the homeless shelter and give away some gifts. She assured them that they would come back and have all the time to open their own presents under the christmas tree. Of course they had noticed; the different colored boxes had caught their eyes.

The memory is kind of sketchy, but Darryl one of the children, thinks that at the shelter they had a chance to meet several families. Seemed like Mama had already arranged who should get what toy. Everyone was nice he remembers. The adults kind of chatted amongst themselves whilst the kids tore open the toys quicker than you could say: merry christmas.

There was a train set and a doll with such a pretty dress. There was also a car and a tow truck.

It was definately fun while it lasted and soon they all headed home to Mama’s promised gifts.

They dashed into the living room and you know the rest. Or do you?

With small hands tearing the wrapping away, quickly being revealed were a train set and a doll with such a pretty dress. There was also a car and a tow truck.

Amazed, the kids realised that the very same toys that they were receiving, identical ones had just been given away at the shelter. At the shelter!

They realized now that they did not own “better” stuff than “poor” kids and yes, kids like to play with the same things.

Speechless! But only for a few seconds. Then it was back to the laughing and carrying on that a family does when they open gifts. It was however, those few seconds needed to imprint a message of giving into their young minds.

“I remember my mother telling us that it’s better to give than to receive, and it was important to give something just as nice to someone less fortunate.” says Darryl.

Mama Patterson died in 2010.

In 2012, Darryl had an idea. Even though he did not share the details of this idea with his mother before she died, Darryl strongly believes her life was what brought him to the moment of truth. The truth that: action speaks louder than words.

Remembering what his mother always used to say: “Do what makes you happy”, Darryl set up a scholarship program.

Now in its third year, the program looks for High School kids who want to pursue a four year degree in the arts.

This year’s award presentation which took place over Father’s day weekend in July, was part of a community art exhibition at the Galerie Myrtis in Baltimore. $5,000 was given to the winner of the award and $1,000 for each of two runners up. 

Even though the event is over, the art works removed and the guests have left, the idea of helping others like fruit hangs on a tree of life for anyone to pluck and taste. After eating the fruit, you may take inspiration from the same idea. I suggest you don’t eat the seed in your hand as well, but hold it. Then purposefully sow it. Sow the seed into the soil that is someone else life and patiently wait as it grows into something beautiful.

Darryl Patterson a designer who is motivated by what he terms: “concentric circles of benefit”, likes to point out that we each have circles of influence, as we interact with people day by day. He believes that to the best of our ability, interactions between people should be a benefit and not a liability. Darryl therefore encourages the Baltimore community he lives, in as many ways that he can.

By Ken Gwira

Ken Gwira is a self-taught artist living in the USA. Aside from wood sculpture, he uses words and images to help people see life through a different lens [o].

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