On this Valentine’s Day, I treasure the love that parents show to children and especially the love from my mother, Lois Treasure Whitacre Clark. My 99-year-old Mom died a week ago and her Celebration of Life memorial service occurred yesterday. A 500-word blog can never capture the whole story of parental love but here are some pearls. Mom not only loved me dearly, but her love was widespread.
Mom taught the value of lifelong learning. For many of my childhood years, every week I checked out 10 books from the public library. Our home was filled with books — my home is filled with books. My brothers and I read different books, but all of us are avid readers. Throughout decades Mom often was the first person to check out new books from the library. She usually had a stack of library books at any one time, but she seldom read whole books. She told me that she always started reading at the end of a book…Mom gleaned what she needed in the last chapter and moved on to the next book. I think the Bible was an exception to her usual practice, as she quoted more from the Gospels than from Revelation.
The oldest child of 10, many of Mom’s values came down the line from her parents, Bertha and Joseph Whitacre, and countless ancestors. Each new generation takes on some of what their parents modeled…and takes a pass on some things. My 2 brothers would agree with me that we are glad that Mom took a pass on having 10 children!
My Mom taught the value of making a difference. We will never know what happened to the letter Mom sent to Nikita Khrushchev, urging him to embrace world peace, but Mom was a frequent letter-writer to her newspaper, her senators, and state/national congressional representatives. She frequently called their offices as a witness for peaceful expenditures of tax dollars. The number of peace posters that Mom created is amazing.
Her enduring symbol was the butterfly. She collected butterfly pictures and wore butterfly earrings. In ancient Greek the word for butterfly is “psyche” which means “soul,” but about a year ago, I asked Mom what the butterfly meant to her. Mom’s words were a self-description:
“…momentary brush with beauty…heart-warming…shear fragile strength…unbelievable endurance ability…capable…bonding influence…affection…attention…amaaaazing (spelled with 5 a’s).“
Mom’s present-moment living is an example of how to make our world a better place. My mother worked tirelessly on her many projects, mainly world peace for the coming generations of children. In the words of poet Naomi Shihab Nye, “… the real heroes of race and culture would always be the people who stepped out of their own line to make a larger circle.” Mom always lived her life with the larger circle in her mind’s eye.
Pearls of Peace (PoP) Quiz:
56. When do you contact your congressional representatives?
57. What is one thing you might do today to consider a wider circle of influence in your life?