Susan Roylance: Susan Roylance: Motherhood celebrated at the U.N

Published: Friday, March 12 2010 12:39 p.m. MST

Women, and men, came to celebrate motherhood.One of the largest conference rooms at the U.N. was full to overflowing. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss "The Critical Role of Mother's in Society.""Strong mothers make strong families, and strong families make a strong society," said Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, representing the Island of Saint Lucia.It was an historic meeting — I would never have guessed, in my wildest imaginations, that such a meeting was possible — at the United Nations. Women from all over the world were in New York as part of the 15-year review of the Fourth World Conference on Women, originally held in Beijing.March 8 is also celebrated as International Women's Day. In 1910, at another international conference of women, the day was established as "a day to press for women's demands" — to push for equality between women and men."But, on this day in 2010 the focus was on the value of women as mothers — as a "side event" to the main conference sessions.Since the earliest records of mankind, "women have been worshipped as the origin of life," said Christine de Vollmer, president of the Latin American Alliance for the Family, based in Caracas, Venezuela. She presented scientific evidence that the "mother's loving gaze" is a vital part of a baby's brain development.Vollmer pointed out that children need to be raised with the natural family — which also includes fathers." said Vollmer. She presented the problems of boys and girls — raised without the support and love of the father. She said that gangs, early sexual debut and crime are often the result. "Children need two biological parents, and government policies should encourage the mother/father family unit," Vollmer said."Empowerment will make her a better mother," said Dr. Juhaina Al Essa, vice president of the Supreme Council of Family Affairs of the State of Qatar, a co-sponsor of the event. She discussed the many challenges facing women, and the need to restructure cultural elements that make it difficult for women to achieve their goals."The African culture honors the role of mother as the protector of life," said Theresa Okafor, director of the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage. Okafor is from Nigeria and helped organize the regional World Congress of Families in Nigeria last year.Sharon Slater, president of Family Watch International, quoted from social science studies which show that, "any deviation from the traditional family structure generally leads to such things as poverty, crime, violence, substance abuse, disease and other problems that world governments must spend millions of dollars trying to fix."The meeting was chaired by the ambassador to the U.N. from Syria, H.E. Bashar Ja'afari. In addition to Syria, the event was also sponsored by Iran, Nigeria, Qatar, and St. Lucia. Family Watch International and the Doha Institute for Family Studies and Development helped organize the event.Ja'afari said that a common phrase in his culture (which was difficult to translate appropriately into English) says that, "Heaven is under the mother's feet — meaning that Heaven can be accessed only to those who get their mother's blessings."

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