Mother’s Day was challenging for me. I actually began to feel a bit off late last week. Although I had posted a video encouraging all of us to be sensitive around women who may not have a “happy” Mother’s Day, I didn’t sense my uneasiness was for any of the reasons I mentioned.

It wasn’t until Saturday night, when more Mother’s Day related posts appeared on Facebook, that I could identify my feelings and their source.

Sadness. That’s what I was feeling, but it wasn’t for me. It was for moms who should hear regularly that they’re appreciated, valued, and important, but may only hear it once a year. When “Thanks, you’re great!” is heard only on a holiday, it doesn’t always come across as genuine.

When speaking to students a few weeks ago, I encouraged them to thank their teachers. I challenged them to recognize how hard many of them work and how important they are. I then laughed and told them to wait a few days. If they thanked them that afternoon, it might not have come across as genuine since I just told them to do it.

Many years ago, when I taught second graders, some parents thanked me regularly. They went out of their way to drop off little gifts or just to acknowledge something we had done in class that their children enjoyed. This ongoing encouragement inspired me.

Some parents gave me a Christmas gift and maybe an end-of-year gift, but never anything in between. Although I appreciated the gifts and any words of thanks, and I didn’t do what I did to get thanked, I’ll admit thinking these parents gave those gifts and said nice things because they felt they had to. Therefore, they didn’t have the same kind of encouragement power that the ongoing gifts and words did. Does that make sense?

I’m glad for every expression of gratitude expressed yesterday to moms, grandmothers, aunts, mothers-in-laws, and daughters. I sincerely hope words and gifts were encouraging. I just can’t help but wonder what might happen to these precious women and their families if “Thanks, you’re great!” was expressed regularly? I know from the work I do that many moms don’t hear it nearly enough. Dads don’t either, of course. I’ll save comments about that for another day.

Will you join me in a crusade to express gratitude and appreciation to moms (and others) regularly? What a difference we could make!