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Oct 27, 2016 12:38PM

A force for good: Mama Bear will lead the way


By Leslie Klipsch
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"Mama Bearís Manifesto: A Momsí Group Guide to Changing the World," by Leslie Klipsch
In the wild, it is widely known that if something comes between a bear and her cubs, the mother will attack to protect her young. Female bears are defensive of their offspring and will strike viciously at the first glimpse of a threat. A 300-pound mass of anger seeking vengeance; it is not a passive scene.

On the playground, the bleachers or her own front porch, we know that even the most unflappable, well-mannered human mother, regardless of size or stature, possesses a similar ferocity within. If pressed, her Mama Bear will come out swinging and swiping. She will show her claws. You mess with my babies, as they say, and you'll meet my Mama Bear.

The universality of this sense of protection and anger for our offspring is familiar, so much so that the comparison is often made between human mothers and mama bears. Often, in conversation with our peers, we'll hear a tale of hurt and injustice followed by the statement of fact: "My Mama Bear came out."

At this we take a step back. We hear the phrase and we know she means business.

* * *

Each of us holds a Mama Bear within. When pressed, we've felt her stir. We know her passion is unique and ripe with potential. Though I cannot advocate for Mama Bear in all situations or champion her petty grievances, I can't help but wonder what it might be like to harness her power and set her loose to exhibit measured fury and intimidation in the right situation. What if we could somehow take the rage of Mama Bear and unleash her power when we read about injustice or hear stories that break our heart? What if Mama Bear would strike just as hotly when she learned of an inequality half a world away as she might in defense of her children at the neighborhood ballpark or play-lot? What if we could begin to take on the struggles of others with the same intensity as we attack our own?

With this in mind, I have begun to try to capture the instinct of my Mama Bear. I want to remember the rumble and rage and I want to channel it for good. I want to train her to show her teeth not just when my own child is hurting, but when I see another human suffer. In doing so, I'm convinced we could wreak havoc on injustice and summon radical, forceful, lumbering change. We could be the protectors of not just our own offspring, but of the baby bears all over the world.

What if Mama Bear got worked up about the girls being kept from school in Pakistan? What if she noticed children in her very own school district don't have winter coats when the snow begins to fall? What if she allowed the images of Syrian refugees with no certain future to resonate? These are the things that warrant rage and anger. These are the issues that deserve a Mama Bear to come out fighting for.

There is gentleness in the way that we rock our babies. There is sweetness in the way we kiss our children goodnight. But this love, as tender as it might be, should not be underestimated. Remember that in every endearing moment, Mama Bear is lurking. We are capable of extraordinary care, and it is not limited to the way we love our own offspring. This power can transcend our own homes and communities.

We have a unique perspective and a secret weapon lurking inside, and because of the inarguable power of an individual who makes the decision to shine love into the places that are dark and broken, I am convinced that those aware of the larger world and ready to act will become a force of tremendous change and a conduit of love in action.

The power of Mama Bear lurks inside each of us. We can identify what generates our anger and take note of the stories that stir our souls and sting our eyes. Ask Mama Bear how she would react, and watch her sharp claws point to the sky. Then, let's take that impulse—that unmistakable power and passion—and use it for good.




Adapted with permission from "Mama Bear’s Manifesto: A Moms’ Group Guide to Changing the World," by Leslie Klipsch. Published in 2016 by Leafwood Publishers. Available at Amazon.com.


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