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What is a mother?

May 14, 2001

What is a mother?



"Mother." A simple enough word it seems, yet it has so many different meanings.

When we asked children ages 4 to 17 to define the word, several said dictionary definitions - a female parent or guardian, or a woman who gives birth - don't come close to properly describing what a mother really is.

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Someone who provides unconditional love, puts her family above all else and catches her children when they fall were common answers. Several children praised their mothers' abilities to make time for them despite hectic schedules. Other children appreciated a sense of humor, willingness to play sports and cooking skills.

We received 44 letters from area youth and also interviewed some students at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School in Greencastle, Pa., and Broadfording Christian Academy in Hagerstown.

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Jasmine Longanecker, 10, of Hagerstown, the winner of our $50 random drawing, was a humble writer. She admitted she sometimes gets frustrated when her mother tells her what she can and cannot do, even though her mother is just trying to protect her and her friends.

"I know she's right and I'm wrong, and I think that's what makes me mad," wrote Jasmine, a fifth-grader at Maugansville Elementary School.

While out of the age range for our contest, Jacqueline K. Swaim of Hagerstown honored mother, Cora M. Swaim, 81, with a recipe.

There are several ingredients to create a perfect mother, including caring, helpfulness, time for sharing, kind words and sacrifice. Even after the components are warmed with a heart that's true, Swaim wrote "you still can't make a mother half as wonderful as mine."

Today - Mother's Day - is a perfect time to tell your mother what she means to you. If you need some help expressing it, look for inspiration in these words written by some young people with plenty of insight.

Happy Mother's Day!

- Meg H. Partington, megp@herald-mail.com
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