This weekend marks two important dates that are all about honoring and empowering others. You may already be celebrating Mother’s Day, but World Fair Trade Day might be an unknown to you. What does fair trade have to do with Mom? As I’ve found, Moms teach us about the principles of fair trade, whether we realize it or not. What exactly are those principles and how does Mom teach them to us? Today, I’m taking a closer look at each one to see how Moms inspire us to uphold the principles of fair trade.
Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers: Both my parents taught me to think of others, and my mom was a huge part of reminding me to think of those who were a part of my community. Giving back to the community was a significant aspect of my life growing up, which is why I volunteered at the local hospital and continue to choose work that has a purpose and benefits the community I live in. Empowering others is a very important aspect of whatever I do, because there were times in my life when I lacked confidence and gaining back that confidence empowered and inspired me to keep moving forward in my life.
Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships: Having relationships that are fair, honest, and respectful are at the top of my list when it comes to whom I associate with. I have a hard time understanding others who think that building relationships on manipulation is acceptable. I have seen from my mom’s interactions with others that she feels the same way. She values respectful and honest relationships and struggles with those who don’t share the same values. I also struggle with the same situation, but I’m glad I could look up to my mom to see there are others who uphold the same values. Her perspective has shown me that even when people seek the easier route of taking advantage of others, I can remain honest and transparent with people to develop strong relationships.
Build Capacity: Both my parents raised me to empower others, because in a sense they empowered me. They weren’t perfect parents, and no one is, but they both found ways to let my sister and me develop independence. How do I know this? I see it in my mom every day. How she talks about her students as a Health Sciences Instructor and her desire to seek training that will enhance programs shows me how much she values fostering the independence and capabilities of others. It’s something I think about all time whether I’m studying or working with my classmates in my graduate school assistantships.
Promote Fair Trade: Promoting justice, improving healthcare, and advocating for education are key traits of fair trade, and they’re also evident in my mom. As a nurse, instructor, and coordinator of healthcare programs at her school, my mom knows the importance of all of these factors and she’s not afraid to speak up about it. Her passion and advocacy have shown me how I can think about the arts when it comes to equality, education, and healthcare.
Pay Promptly and Fairly: After working as an artist, I could spend a lot of time discussing this principle. As it turns out, I’m not the only one. Plenty of Moms, including my own, share reminders on why it’s important to recognize people for the work they do. Genuinely acknowledging people and following through on your honesty aren’t just lessons I learned as a child, their lessons I think about all the time.
Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions: Moms are always thinking about us and reminding us to take care of ourselves. Perhaps that’s why my sister and I call my mom to discuss every ailment, because our mom knows how to take care of us. Whether we’re at work, at home, or getting ready to go on a travel adventure, my mom always wants to make sure we’re safe and taken care of.
Ensure the Rights of Children: While many would find a connection to this principle through the maternal instinct, I see it as remembering that everyone should be given the chance to be heard and accepted. When I was in first grade, I was given the chance to design a plate for Mother’s Day. Since I missed the day I was supposed to design my plate, I asked my teacher how to spell “Mother.” Unfortunately, she decided not to help me, but my mom wasn’t bothered by the fact that I had written: “Happy Mom’s Day” on my plate. When my teacher became too impatient to teach me certain math concepts, my mom was quick to assist me. Perhaps my teacher had other concerns at the time or I just didn’t understand math as quickly as my classmates, but whatever the case was, it was my mom who made sure I was recognized. In my current role as a developing arts administrator, I always admire education and steps taken to provide accessibility to the arts. My desire to make sure others are not overlooked or ignored is what drives me to recognize everyone.
Cultivate Environmental Stewardship: I’ve been asked by family members if all my products are fair trade or if I want everything in my life to be eco-friendly. In reality, I see my choices as a balance since I realize not everything is perfectly sustainable. Does that mean I am a failure? No, but it does mean that I strive to make better choices and think about the environment around me. The person I have to thank for it? My mom. The compost we’ve recently started for the garden, the lettuce she’s started in a flower pot, and her advocacy for the National Monuments in light of President Trump’s Executive Order are all reasons why I’m an advocate for the environment as well.
Respect Cultural Identity: If you’ve read my blog before, you know how much I value the importance of cultural heritage and so do my mom and dad. Even if you don’t feel you have a culture, you can still respect your past. My mom always strives to have sticky pecan buns Christmas morning and ravioli for Christmas dinner. She wants to see us on as many holidays as possible and she’s always sharing stories about us from long ago. Her actions and words are always those centered on respecting our past and respecting others.
While both parents are capable of upholding these principles, for Mother’s Day I wanted to focus on the Moms who remind us to respect others and the world around us. These principles aren’t only for Mothers to follow, it’s ideals we can all strive to achieve. Fair trade may have its flaws, but I do see the benefit of these principles and I hope others can come to the same conclusion.
Cover image credit: Pixabay
How does your mom exemplify the principles of fair trade? How do you celebrate Fair Trade Day? How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?