Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What is The Mothers Institute?

What is The Mothers Institute?

In an effort to describe how The Mothers Institute began, I’d like to offer a quick look at a few of my personal interests and endeavors. I have always had two great passions in life - Family and Freedom. I had the good fortune of successfully melding those passions together during the years I raised and homeschooled my two sons. After my children headed off to college, the time was right for discovering new opportunities to honor these same passions.

My husband and I chose to become involved in politics. During that time, our efforts focused primarily on spreading the message of individual freedom and personal responsibility through a variety of political campaigns, promotional events and local activities. In addition, I began looking for a viable approach to bring the ideas of freedom to the next generation. With that goal in mind, I initially organized a Mothers for Liberty Yahoo Group which served as a discussion board for mothers choosing to raise their children with a self reliant, independent, libertarian spirit!

As like-minded mothers from across the United States discovered the new group, membership increased and soon included a blend of everything from political activists to apolitical moms who simply shared the philosophy of individual freedom and personal responsibility.

The age-old quote, "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world" by William Ross Wallace resonated with our Mothers for Liberty members as did the inspirational quote of anthropologist Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."

In January of 2007 after a short illness, my own mother passed away -- but before her death, she and I discussed the idea of an organization which could successfully promote an approach to mothering that would encourage the principles we women had already been discussing and practicing. My mother, who was also my mentor and friend, had been my business partner in prior endeavors and was a successful businesswoman along with my father for over sixty years. Knowing she had given her "thumbs up" to such a project assured me I was on solid ground.

In March of 2007, hoping to network with more like-minded mothers throughout the country, I organized another online discussion group and its membership grew quickly - today reaching over 750 mothers and representing almost every state in the U.S. Again, some of the members are politically active while others simply live a philosophy that promotes peace, prosperity and freedom while enjoying a connection with other mothers who are seeking to practice similar life tenets.

With the enthusiastic support of so many dedicated women, the time was finally right to organize The Mothers Institute along with our "boots on the ground" aspect of the organization - our Mothers for Liberty Meetup Groups. Together, we are practicing and sharing with others the message of Radical Responsible Mothering ... bringing the concept to the forefront of today’s parenting conversation.

And as The Mothers Institute continues to grow - with the help of many talented members - it is wonderful to know that my own mother's influence is, and will continue to be, felt and appreciated by mothers of all ages and in all stages of this wonderful experience called motherhood.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Homeschooling Humor :-)

Homeschooling Humor by Melany Noltenius (a homeschooling mom from Tennessee)

Q: How does a homeschooler change a light bulb?

A: First, mom checks three books on electricity out of the library, then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a biography of Thomas Edison and do a skit based on his life. Next, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles. Next, everyone takes a trip to the store here they compare types of light bulbs as well as prices and figure out how much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a five dollar bill. On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on the five dollar bill. Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, the light bulb is installed. And there is light.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Creating "Community"

Creating "Community"

Merriam-Webster recognizes the individual in its definition of community, showing such fellowship and organization as a reflection and manifestation of individuals’ needs, desires and interests. Accordingly, communities or groups should be created, sustained and thought of as an adjunct to the individual, rather than an entity maintained for its own purpose.

Merriam-Webster also describes community as “society at large” and, as such, calls to mind these historic words from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense ...

SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil in its worst state an intolerable one ...”

Ron Paul’s Freedom Principles also aid in the understanding of community and groups as they relate to the individual as well as Paine’s assessment of society vs. government.
* Rights belong to individuals, not groups.
* Property should be owned by people, not government.
* All voluntary associations should be permissible -- economic and social.
* The government’s monetary role is to maintain the integrity of the monetary unit, not participate in fraud.
* Government exists to protect liberty, not to redistribute wealth or to grant special privileges.
* The lives and actions of people are their own responsibility, not the government’s.

So what then is community ... family, neighbors, homeschooling groups, churches, political organizations, food co-ops, online forums, our Mothers for Liberty Meetup Groups? Yes to all of the above. And through such communities, we find common ground by way of our shared interests, experiences, goals, strengths, and even weaknesses.

We create community by first recognizing the need for and benefits of joint effort in a given arena and then by inviting like-minded individuals to share that effort and ultimately that reward with us. We build community by bringing the best of ourselves to the group, by giving and receiving resources, tools and talents which enhance the lives of those involved.

Historically, community has been at the heart of our nation’s success, and loosing touch with community has initiated problems that are now becoming evident. In the wake of that realization, Americans are establishing relationships and reconnecting with community on a local and national level. People turning to people for friendship, assistance, information and resources ... and in response people voluntarily offering the same, is as Paine points out, a blessing.

To quote Karl Hess, well known and beloved libertarian writer and activist, “The most revolutionary thing you can do is get to know your neighbors.” And to follow that thought with a quote by Mothers Institute Advisory Board member, Lori Loranger, “A free market in goodwill is the same as an economic free market - the more interconnected we become, the more we really can’t afford to be enemies.” we have a better understanding that through community, we can find solutions that better enable us - as individuals - to live the lives we choose.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Grandma's Apron

Grandma's Apron

"I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.

After the peas had been shelled, itcarried out the hulls.In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Send this to those who would know, and love, the story about Grandma's aprons. Or it can be a good history lesson for those that have no idea how the apron played a part in our lives.


Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron. I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron .... but Love!!"

~ Author Unknown

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our Truest Friend

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts."

--Washington Irving

As children we are blessed to have mothers like this and as mothers we are privileged to be our children's truest friends.

The quote reminded me of the following precious personal examples ...

My oldest son once told me that when things are difficult for him -- he simply calls home, I tell him he's wonderful (hopefully with some sage advice thrown in the mix) and he goes back to his business of the day with a different perspective and outlook.

My youngest son once asked me if since he and his brother were born, did I ever do anything without thinking of them first ... then before I could answer he looked me in the eye, smiled, and said "never mind" Knowing he knew the answer before I had to respond assured me my devotion to him/them had been adequately practiced -- and observed.

Knowing this quote may remind other moms visiting my blog of specific moments or situations in their childhood - or as moms themselves - when a mothers' love was the perfect fit and fix for problems large or small, I invite you to share a few of those special moments here.