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Happy Mother's Day

By: Richard Brodsky

If you've been a mother, or plan to be, you've settled some fundamental questions.  You know you're not always going to be understood, or thanked, or appreciated.  But you're doing something fundamental and important, because you choose to do it.  And you measure success and failure by your own inner compass, by the effort as much as the outcome.  And in the end, its' worth it,it's the right thing to do, as uneven and bumpy as life can be.

Well, there are similar life choices and similar life experiences in other areas, perhaps not as dramatic or personally important, but similar and worthy of recognition.  And on Mothers Day we ought to pause a minute and recognize the choices, effort and successes of public employees.  For all the recent fuss, few of use go into public service because it enriches us monetarily.  There is something intrinsically virtuous in public service.  Cop, schoolteacher, home health aid, sanitation worker, nurse, transit worker, firefighter, office worker, you name it, with the title comes a public responsibility and responsibility to serve others that is felt deeply by each of us.  And goodness knows, its' not usually accompanied by appreciation or understanding.

It would be nice if the leaders of government stood up for and behind public employees.  That's not the fashion right now.  So be it.  Just as you remember your own mother on Mothers' Day, take some satisfaction in public service, and remember that the lives of countless individuals and communities are better, truly better, because of you and your fellow public employees.  You do what you do because it serves a wider good.  It's virtuous.

Happy Mothers Day.

Richard Brodsky is a former 14 term NYS Assemblyman from Westchester and Senior Fellow at Demos, a non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization founded in 2000.  

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