"The Voice of Reason": Opinionated MAMA's Perspective on the SOCIAL & POLITICAL ISSUES of Our Times

Originally posted 9/12/09, given the political climate, we thought our very first opinion piece was relevant this week:

“Listen to your mother!” We’ve all heard it a million times….it’s an effective reminder that makes kids sit up a little straighter and pay attention. Yep, it’s true, kids need constant reminders on how to behave, but unfortunately, the grown ups in our country need to be reminded, too. You know, ”mind your manners,” “clean up your own mess,” “don’t be a poor sport” and on and on. So, who better to do it than America’s moms?

We are the example our children see and hear every day, so America’s moms know that our “actions speak louder than words.” But, it is time that we start holding grown-ups accountable for their behavior, too. Our kids are watching and listening, so “do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t cut it anymore. If congressmen can’t “mind their manners” while the President is speaking, how do we expect a ten year old to be respectful when his teacher is talking? If a professional athlete can’t “be a good sport” when they lose, how do we encourage a disappointed t-ball player? If rock stars don’t grasp that there are times when “the world doesn’t actually revolve around them,” how do we convince our teenagers of it? If we expect better kids, we all must be better examples.

America’s kids are our future. They are the next generation of “risk-takers, doers and makers of things.” They are the next bankers and baseball players, teachers and technicians, police officers and policy makers, artists and astronauts, scientists and social workers…and they will be the role models for the generation after them…the next Presidents, Wall Street whiz kids, Nobel Peace Prize winners, curers of cancer, soldiers, teachers, parents…our kids are going to define the future of our nation and moms have the incredible job of literally shaping what kind of people, and citizens, they grow up to be.

We were challenged to usher in “a new era of [parental] responsibility” in President Obama’s inaugural address. At first, we thought it was about turning off the TV and making sure the kids were doing their homework. And, frankly, Deb and I thought we were doing a pretty good job, but then we realized we were missing the big picture. We aren’t just raising kids, we are raising the citizens who will define the future of our nation – the country we all love – regardless of political affiliation, sexual orientation, race, religion or region. We are the country that does great things. The country that makes us proud. We can all rally around our kids and our country, right? This fundamental belief is how the idea for O-MAMA.com was born.

America’s moms have the most important job (no offense Mr. President) and we need to come together to get to the heart of the issues that matter most to raising happy, healthy, productive, well-adjusted citizens. Sure, we need to know how and why we see things differently, but that’s not where the conversation should begin and end. The solutions are rooted in our country’s collective values…in the lessons we teach our kids every day. The conversations need to start at the kitchen table with the people we love and come full circle…while using “indoor voices” and “nice manners,” of course!

Each of us has the power to affect change. “Opinionated MAMAs” influence our kids, families, communities and, ultimately, the direction of our country. Our opinions are supposed to be influencing our political climate, not the political climate influencing us. Our kids and our country need us – we need some basic parenting principals, not political agendas, to change the bad behavior we see in the news & events of the day. So MAMAS, we need to stay engaged and share our opinions on the issues that matter most.

If we keep in mind the simple lessons we’ve all been taught by our mothers, and the parenting lessons we are teaching our own kids, then maybe the complex social and political issues that our country is facing will become a little less complicated. Maybe, if we stop second guessing every intention and start really believing the things we already know to be true–like “choose your battles wisely,” “don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” “practice what you preach,” “live and let live”, “leave it better than you found it,” etc.–then, we can finally start tackling some of the issues we can no longer avoid and teach our kids the life lessons we can no longer ignore. Maybe, just maybe, these issues are not as polarizing as we think they are? Maybe, just maybe, if we turn to each other, and tap into the collective wisdom of America’s moms, we can actually highlight right from wrong, instead of focusing so much on left and right. Maybe, just maybe, America’s moms already know the answers to our country’s problems?!

With a little humor and a lot of common sense, America’s moms can be a constructive voice in our country’s most important conversations. If our country starts listening to it’s MAMA’s, maybe we won’t get into so much trouble?! Can we do it? You betcha! Change begins at home…and it starts with YOU!

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