What matters most: A mother’s everyday routine is the conduit of character

How play, prayer, spaghetti and baths all create character in your family (and you!)
  • By: Rebekah Malbrecht
A small boy is wearing a white shirt. He is with his mother who is wearing a blue shirt and a pink skirt. He has his arms around his mother and she is holding a bouquet of white flowers.

This Mother’s Day we celebrate women who nurture, lead, pray, protect, play, teach and love with tenacity. The mothers, grandmothers, aunts, mentors and the wide scope of women who deeply invest in those around them. Women who are memory-makers and architects of tomorrow through the daily expression of character and sacrificial love.

A young girl held by her mom. She is wearing red, white and blue ribbons bows in her hair. She leans in to touch her nose to her mom's nose.

Photo by Jonatan Ruiz.

The deep well of nurture is dug by perseverance. Day by day the ropes are tugged, drawing life from the depths of your nurturing love. That depth is shaped by the endurance built into each diverse experience of motherhood. It is born of the unshakable love that will not give up on the ones they love.

Motherhood has always demanded this type of character and sacrifice. All across the world, mothers have had to face this year with the fortitude intrinsic to their role in the lives of their loved ones. Engaging in the everyday challenges of nurturing others well during a time when everything is being redefined is no simple task. But there are things that aren’t being redefined. In fact, these things have never changed. Things such as perseverance, fortitude, wisdom and love.

A teen boy is wearing a red shirt. He is standing outside with his mother, who is wearing a pink and brown patterned shawl. They are standing in front of a brick building and talking to each other.

Photo by Tigist Gizachew.

These are the things that have shaped lives. The things that create character in little hearts. The things that, as they show themselves again and again and again, mark the lives of those you nurture. They don’t manifest in grand gestures. In fact, if they only show up for the big stuff then they aren’t character. No, these are the things that show up in the much-needed sip of strength for too-early mornings, the mental shift after receiving difficult news, the grace of “yes” or “no” applied in the right moment or hugs and dishes and “love you’s” and laundry piles. These are the things that make this year matter.

A mother is standing in front of a light blue wall wearing an orange saari with her child in her arms. She is looking at her child and smiling.

Photo by J. Sangma.

This Mother’s Day, we are inviting you to become an investigative journalist for the day and ask these questions of yourself and of the ones you love to see how the small, everyday appearances of character have been the well you all have drawn from. Grab your journal and reflect on these questions by yourself first and then plan some one-on-one time with each of your loved ones to ask these questions:

  • How have you seen me be perseverant this year?
  • Where have you seen me be brave?
  • When have I given you good advice?
  • How do you know I love you?

We asked some Compassion kids from around the world some similar questions about their mothers and we loved hearing their answers…

A girl on a bike is wearing a green shirt and a pink skirt. Her mother is wearing a colorful skirt and a white patterned top. They are smiling at each other.

Photo by J. Sangma.

For Shehara in Sri Lanka, her mother’s hard work and perseverance shines through.

“Seeing how my mother works so hard to help other mothers in our community and how she also helps me to do my homework and cooks our family’s meals every single day without rest, gives me hope and makes me feel secure. When my mother is beside me, I am not afraid of anything.

A small boy is wearing a blue and white checked shirt with tan pants. He is sitting on a piece of playground equipment on the project's playground. His mother is beside him. She is wearing a pink and purple dress.

Photo by Tigist Gizachew.

Yohanes in Ethiopia shares how his mother’s faith is remarkable to him.

“My mother is really good at praying.”

A girl in an orange shirt hugs her mother in a green shirt. They look at each other and smile.

Photo by Sara Navarro.

Josiele from Brazil sees her mother’s everyday acts of love as fortitude.

“I love my mom because she always cooks my favorite meals for me, and because she’s always by my side giving me love through all our problems and hardship.”

A two-year old boy sits on his mothers lap and laughs. She is sitting on a bed and smiling.

Photo by Jonatan Ruiz.

For Harold in Peru, it is his mother’s fun-loving spirit that he values the most.

“I love my mom because she always plays with me.”

A boy in a blue and green shirt and his mother in a pink shirt hold a heart shape and a flower as they smile.

Photo by Nora Diaz.

Manual in El Salvador shares that quality time is the way his mom has supported him during difficult times.

“I love my mom because she has helped me through difficult times. I can always count on her because she spends time with me.”

A teen girl is wearing a white shirt and she is with her mother who is wearing a black shirt. She is holding a bouquet of white flowers and her mother is braiding her hair. They are in a white room.

Photo by Piyamary Shinoda.

Krittiya shares how brave she thinks her mother is.

“My mother is very good at cooking, and she’s very confident. For a woman in her generation, it’s not very common to see a woman strong and confident like her. She’s courageous and fearless.”

A mother in blue holds her little girl in pink and green. They are sitting on a concrete block.

Photo by Vera Mensah-Bediako.

For Gladys in Ghana, it is the small acts of love her mother does that matter most.

“I love my mother because she bathes me every day and dresses me to go to school and church and also sometimes when I am afraid to sleep, she comes to sleep in my room with me on my bed and prays for me.”

We see you, moms. In a year that has required so much from you, we know that your tanks feel empty and your well may seem dry. This year has required you to dig deep, so we want to invite you to own and celebrate the impact that your character has had on our lives. You are amazing! Let us fill your heart up with our buckets spilling over with all that you have poured out from the deep places in your heart this year. We know you will be surprised at just how much you have taught us about what matters most.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Honour your mom this Mother’s Day by supporting a new mother in need.

Give in your mom’s honour


Feature photo by Piyamary Shinoda.