Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit

Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
While Dr. Friedman is no longer with us, there are still many helpful resources on his site. Articles and resource links have been relocated to the top. His family hopes you might find them helpful. But since this site is no longer being updated, some links may no longer work.


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Skills For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free | Feeling, Thought, Communication & Action

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Holiday Family Gatherings

It's Mother's Love—Stand Aside!

© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[Originally in The Sun, San Bernardino, California, Sunday May 12, 1991, pages D1, D4]

When I was about 8 years old, I recall getting into some mischief that apparently posed a greater threat to my life than I realized. The danger has long since escaped my memory, but I recall vividly how my mother responded instantaneously to rescue me.

I can still recall her horrified look and the tears welling up in her eyes. Drilling her eyes into the marrow of my bones, she angrily bellowed, "If anything ever happens to you, I won't be one bit graceful!" Even today when danger looms, I always remember this experience.

I imagine my mother taking aside each of my three younger siblings at some juncture and delivering the same message. Dare be it for anyone or anything to get between a mother and the continued welfare of her offspring! Mother love is fiercely protective.

Above all else, Mother's Day is a celebration of mothers' unconditional, instinctual love and bonding with their young. Few things in life are more tragic than the motherless child, anchorless on the choppy seas of the world. Equally true, there are few conditions more heart-warming than the affection between a nurturing, cherishing mother and her offspring of any age.

The roots of Mother's Day can be traced to either Grafton, W.Va., or Philadelphia, when Anna M. Jarvis observed the anniversary of her mother's death in a special church service for mothers in either 1907 or 1908. The idea quickly spread until Mother's Day was proclaimed a national holiday in 1915.

The quintessential mother may well be Mary, mother of Jesus. Her love is an exemplary model for all mothers.

When you reflect, you may well find that you have had several mothers. Besides your birth mother, you may have had one or more adopted mothers, whether she was a foster mother, stepmother, grandmother, aunt, sister, wife or female friend who served as your true mother. If so, you were gifted.

With mothers bringing so many priceless presents, including the blessing of life itself, how is "mother love" specifically impressed upon us? Let me offer some other personal experiences.

As a young boy with a paper route, I recall taking a bad tumble from my heavily-
laden bike when it skidded on gravel. I shrugged off my scratched, hurting hands, but I had a harder time ignoring my badly skinned right knee, especially because some gravel still seemed to be in it. By the time I made it home, my knee was burning.

Taking one glance at me, my mother pointedly asked, "What happened, Billy?" I told of falling off my bicycle, but said it was nothing. She was steadfast: "Let me be the judge of that. Show me." I reluctantly bared my throbbing knee. She declared, "We're going to the doctor right away!"

As things turned out, all the gravel was painfully dug out, stitches were sewn, and my knee healed. Mother had insisted that I tell the truth in total trust, and she wouldn't settle for less. Mother love is non-negotiable trust.

Another scene comes to mind that demonstrates the lengths to which mothers go to offer their children unbridled support. As a teenager, my interest in golf reigned supreme. Somehow my mother allowed herself to be convinced that arising at 4 a.m. and driving across town to the golf links for a hoped-for, cancelled tee-off time would be helpful for my development.

Many a weekend she and I sat half-.awake, waiting in the morning cold for the golf course office to open. Looking back, I'm amazed at her sheer perseverance in aiding me to do something I thought was crucial at the e time, yet seems a bit over wrought with 20/20 hind sight.

Could I get close to remembering all the times she'd travel on this errand or that trip for me? She did it without complaints. Mother love is outrageous support.
As the years pass, I think of how much I was given by my mother, far beyond what I can hope to return. Beyond the gift of life itself, by the grace of God, I do know her two greatest gifts.

Whenever I was discouraged wit h some project, an estranged friendship, or some difficulty in school, she'd kindly reassure me: "I know you'll do just fine!" For awhile, I believed it. Later, I began to know it. Mother love is unquestionable confidence.

The other great contribution was her special, private time. In relationships, is
there anything more valuable than loving time together?

Her listening to how my day went, as well as her active interest in what I found enthralling, validated me as a person. Most important, critical judgments of me were not offered, while respect for independent thought was ever-present. Mother love is respect-saturated, shared time.

When all is said, mother love is our first and primary love experience. It may well be the closest we arrive at agape, or love of God, in our earthly experience. In reaching for the sweetest fruit of love, high on the tree, let's honor our mothers by tapping into the inexhaustible reservoir of mother love.

How difficult is it really to show appreciation and gratitude to our mothers for all they willingly give? Let's fine-tune ourselves to the modulations of motherly caring in order to receive and transmit God's inspiring energy of whole-hearted love.

George Demont Otis         Golden Evening

Friedman, of Redlands, is a writer and licensed psychologist practicing in Loma Linda. He's associated with CPC Rancho Lindo Hospital and H.O.P.E. (Healing our Pain Effectively) in Fontana and is a regular commentator for KVCR 91.9FM.

© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


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