Everyday Heroism

Santa Clarita Signal • Ethically Speaking Column • For Sunday, May 10, 2015


Everyday Heroism

David W. Hegg


My father-in-law was a hero although he never thought so himself. During World War II he was part of a flight crew that flew several very dangerous sorties and accomplished some missions that had cost crews on previous attempts their lives. He was awarded some high honors whose emblems found their way to a little jewelry box his kids never saw. Only after I married his daughter and pried some stories out of him did the heroic nature of his service come to light for his family. But he never thought of himself as anything other than an ordinary guy who was asked to do his duty.


Today we celebrate the many ordinary women who have dedicated their lives to a kind of heroism that is seldom noticed, and seldom celebrated. While the news will highlight the corporate gains, athletic achievements, and political successes of women, you won’t see any front page space dedicated to the women who decided to forego other opportunities to birth, nurture, train, guide, instruct, discipline, and love their children while planning, maintaining, managing, and organizing a home for them in which they found the provision, protection, affection and acceptance necessary to their physical, social, spiritual, and emotional maturity. Yes, that’s a long, run on sentence, but it aptly illustrates the magnitude of being a mother. You just can’t explain motherhood succinctly. Nor can you dismiss it easily, though many today are trying.


Motherhood isn’t a job. It’s more an identity that overtakes a woman when she brings a child into this world. It is an identity many scoff at, and belittle, as though growing a business is more honorable than growing a person.


So, here’s to the mothers of our day. Thank you. For all the times your love and care go unmentioned, and seemingly unnoticed, thank you. For all the good things you’ve done only to be punished for them by ungrateful children and an arrogant society, thank you. For the countless times you’ve found joy in the ordinary, behind-the-scenes tasks that are necessary to keeping a home happy and healthy, thank you. And for the tears, and the prayers that persevere when those you love walk the road of disappointment, thank you.


And here’s a special thank you to those mothers who, due to the unexpected torrent of circumstance, are both mother and father to their kids. Thank you, and press on. Press on knowing your efforts are not in vain. Press on because you can change the trajectory of your kids’ lives, and change the future the past is heading for. Press on knowing that your kindness, love, and discipline are what they need to become the healthy, loving, and productive members of society we all want them to be. And press on because you will find nothing more satisfying that watching your kids graduate from college, marry well, and understand their place in this world. And believe me, one day you will hear their adult sentiments of gratitude. One day they’ll get it, and you’ll be thankful you gave it your all. 


Now that the political season is on us we’re hearing once again about a “war on women.” Unfortunately, the war most talk about is nothing compared to the societal disdain too often aimed at women who decide to stay home and raise their children. Here’s my question: How come those who champion a woman’s right to choose to kill her baby don’t cheer equally for those women who choose to not only have their babies, but also dedicate a prime season of their lives to raise them well?


Today on Mother’s Day I am the grateful husband of the best mother I’ve ever known. Though extremely talented and well-educated, she counted it a privilege to stay home, manage that home, and fill it with happy, well-mannered, creative, and energetic children who, through her tutelage, have all married well, and are leaders in their own right. They love their spouses, love each other, love their God, love the church, and love their parents. And now my wife is enjoying the manifold returns on her years of investing in them, as they continue to flourish. Here’s to you honey.


There’s only one thing left to say. To all you Mom’s … Happy Mother’s Day! We’re all better because of you!