Here is what your mom does not want for Mothers Day: a FedEx-ed box of flowers, enhanced by herbicides, picked by underpaid workers, and over-wrapped in non-recyclable tissue. Nor does she want jewelry or fancy pajamas that can't be worn outside in the yard.
Here is what moms do want this year:
First and foremost, they want world leaders to focus on rescuing the 276 girls who were kidnapped in Nigeria. The girls were rounded up by a group of lawless bandits for the sole offense of trying to further their education.
The egregious crime is reminiscent of the shooting of the young Pakistani student, Malala Yousafzai, who refused to waver in her desire for an education. Yousafzai enraged religious extremists in her country by taking to the international stage to promote equal access to schools for all women and for that was shot in the head while riding on her school bus.
Moms all over the world know that education is the key to a better life for their children and for their communities. It is unthinkable, in this era, that there are still places in the world that restrict girls from attending school. Take that money you would have shelled out for a flower arrangement and donate it to the Global Women's Fund or another charity that advances the rights of women around the world.
Also, this Mother's Day, as they dote on sons and daughters who are about to become college freshmen, moms don't want to worry about their safety on campus. Recently it was announced that 55 U.S. universities and colleges are under investigation for improper handling of sexual violence complaints. It's time to hold school administrations and students to a higher standard, one that does not tolerate mistreatment of classmates.
If you want to make mom proud, learn about the Federal Title IX entitlements that guarantee women a college environment free from sexual harassment and violence and make sure your son knows and adheres to those boundaries.
In the same vein, it shouldn't be too much to ask that military moms can serve without fear of being assaulted by their supervisors -- and then suffer the further insult of not being able to take their complaints to an objective board. There is a growing call to establish an independent board to review military assault cases if your mom is in the service study on the issue and talk to her about it.
Finally, moms want equal pay for equal work. Congress could make a lot of moms very happy by writing tighter legislation to ensure men and women working side by side are valued equally. If your senator or representative is dragging his or her feet on the Paycheck Fairness Act which failed to pass muster the Senate last month, write a letter to him or her encouraging them to change their vote and put a copy in a nice handmade card for mom this Sunday.
Unfortunately, Mother's Day has become more of a marketing ploy than a way to truly honor moms. The best way to add a little more meaning to the holiday is to help elevate the status of women in your community and globally.