Today as I walked from the business school to grab lunch in the Commons, I overheard an unusual insult. “What are you, a momma’s boy?” one young Richmond man asked another. In my opinion, the only acceptable reply would have been, “You’re goddamn right I’m a momma’s boy.” Unfortunately, the opposing party had a few choice words to say at this affront, and, in an attempt to remain cordial, I will spare you the details.

I have always thought this was an interesting way of berating someone. For one thing, every man is literally a momma’s boy. And I do not mean a hyperbole many people use when describing whether or not they would die for a pumpkin spice latte. I mean that, quite literally, every single person on this planet belongs to a mother that spent nine rather unpleasant months ensuring he or she would have the opportunity to live.

Being a wise-ass aside, a “momma’s boy” implies that one cannot act or think without final approval of his mother. Evidently, this is a terrible quality to have, although I fail to see how this logic applies.

My mom taught me to respect others. She taught me to love my family and friends above myself. She taught me to protect my sisters, especially my little one. And most importantly, she taught me to see the beauty in a world that can often be mistaken for a place of constant misery and heartbreak.

And that is what is amazing about moms. From what I have gathered about other moms, my mother is not an exception —she is the rule. Mothers teach their sons and daughters compassion, love and understanding. Most importantly, mothers teach their children empathy. In today’s day and age, it is easy to become self-absorbed. It is easy to look around at those who are less fortunate and turn the other cheek. But whenever I fell off the swing set as a child, I can honestly say I remember with fondness my mother picking me up and telling me everything would be all right.

That kind of unconditional love still baffles me. Whatever kind of day my mom might have been having, as soon as she saw me crying in the mud, her top priority always became making sure I was going to be OK. Which brings me back to the insult of being a “momma’s boy."

If whatever decision I make must have the final stamp of approval of my mother, I cannot think of a better choice to make. Showing compassion for others? Understanding someone else’s needs? Ensuring my actions do not hurt some else? I fail to see the offense in any of these outcomes.

Although I am not my mother, I would consider myself lucky if I turned out to be even half as compassionate and loving as she is. And as I read the news everyday and become dismayed by the state of our current world – ISIS, the troubles facing Israel and the civil war in Ukraine – I cannot help but think the world would be a much better place if more young men replied, “You’re goddamn right I’m a momma’s boy."

Contact reporter Charlie Durkin at charles.durkin@richmond.edu

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