Mothers can be heroes for their children

Mother’s Day is observed in the United States every May, and for good reason. More than 25% of Americans rank their mother as their top hero, according to surveys I’ve conducted. At 16%, fathers come in a distant second. In fact, mothers are the mothers of all heroes. The famous hierarchy of human needs put forth by psychologist Abraham Maslow more than 60 years ago ranges from the most fundamental biological needs to the fulfillment of one’s potential. Mothers are experts at assisting their children in meeting the full spectrum of human needs, from ensuring their physical needs are met and that they are safe, to showing them love and affection, to fostering their emotional and spiritual development. Even if they don’t refer to it as such, survey respondents describe their mothers as heroic for helping them advance through the different stages of Maslow’s model. A good mother will nourish you, watch over you, love you, support you socially, and inspire you to be the best version of yourself. She is performing what psychologists, including myself, have identified as the four key roles of a hero: provide defense and protection; embody wisdom and intelligence; serve as a role model for moral conduct; and promote improvement and inspiration. There are countless incredible tales of mothers risking their lives or lifting impossibly heavy weights to save their children. Headlines about mothers rescuing and defending their kids in the most terrifying situations are common. Heroes serve as protectors, as evidenced by the reasons given by survey participants for why their mothers are their role models.

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