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You Are Here: Home > Online Library > Articles > Life & Health > Article
School cuts cards for Mother's Day
By: Dick Feagler
May 13, 2001
From the Plain Dealer

Happy Mother's Day, and I hope you got some flowers. Enjoy them while you can. Mother's Day is suddenly on the hit list of politically incorrect holidays.

A school in New York City decided to ban any observance of Mother's Day to avoid hurting the feelings of children with gay parents.

Students at Rodeph Sholom Day School used to spend some time making cards in class to celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day. But this week the kids brought letters home announcing that this wasn't going to happen anymore.

The school's principal, Cindy Samson, explained it to reporters this way:

"Families are changing. There may be two fathers, two mothers. The mother may not have custody. It could be a grandmother."

Her boss backed her up.

"In my judgment, children who, for whatever reason, have no mother should not have to sit in class while cards are being made for the mothers of others," Rabbi Robert Levine said.

I don't know Rabbi Levine's field of expertise, but it couldn't have been biology. It is an elementary rule of the animal kingdom that all children have mothers. There are those in the gay community who would like to pretend that isn't true. But it is true, and no amount of activist brainwashing can alter it.

Some mothers are unfit mothers. That has always been the case. Some mothers run away with the piano tuner and start new lives in warm Florida condos near strip malls. And some mothers die too young and leave a hole in the hearts of their children.

But, Rabbi, everybody has a mother. That's the way the system works.

This is the first year, in more than 50 years, that I haven't sent some flowers or a Mother's Day card to my mother. We lost her a bit less than a year ago. She lived a long life and died peacefully. She was old, and I am getting there. I wasn't prepared for the kick in the stomach I felt at her absence. I might as well have been a child of 7.

A friend suggested I write a letter to her. I liked that idea. That might have been a good suggestion for Rabbi Levine to have made to his bereft children.

"Even though your mother is gone, she will always be with you, all your life," he might have said. "So write the most special Mother's Day card in the class and tell her how you are doing and how much you miss her."

In this age of chronic divorce, families split and scatter. But in my experience, children from broken homes still hunger for the love of both parents. I doubt that crafting a card for an absent mother would cause great trauma to a child in Rabbi Levine's classroom. The child would probably have plenty of company.

During World War II, when my father went into the Navy and my mother went to work, my grandmother raised me. I wish now I would have sent two cards on Mother's Day, one for each of those wonderful women. But you think about these things too late.

When you try to apply simple common sense to this kind of issue, you generally get called names. I've been called a racist, and I know I'm not. And for this column, I'll probably be called a homophobe, and I'm not that either.

But I'm not ready to surrender to some ridiculous pressure on the part of a couple of nincompoop educators who want to abandon motherhood and fatherhood because it may be an offensive concept to a handful of people with alternative lifestyles.

"There may be two fathers, there may be two mothers," Principal Samson sermonizes.

OK, great. If a child is being raised by lesbians, she gets a bonus. She's the only kid in her class who gets to fashion two Mother's Day cards. And if the kid is being raised by two men, he sits out Mother's Day and does double duty on Father's Day.

But let's not ban the concept of motherhood. That's just wacky. Rabbi Levine, call your mother. She'll straighten you out.

E-mail: dfeagler@plaind.com Phone: 216-999-5757