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Obama’s Mother Profiled by Janny Scott in NY Times’ Long Run Series: “A Free-Spirited Wanderer Who Set Obama’s Path”

Young Obama with mother
Courtesy of the Obama family
Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro with son Barack in Hawaii.

I'm in love this morning with Janny Scott's NY Times profile "A Free-Spirited Wanderer Who Set Obama’s Path" which so delicately traces the "unconventional life of Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro, the parent who most shaped Mr. Obama".

A Mother’s Influence is part of a series of articles about the life and careers of contenders for the 2008 Republican and Democratic presidential nominations.

But, set that aside. Yes, we want to know about this woman because of her influence on a key figure in American politics. But, even if there were no insights to be gained in how their relationship as mother and son shaped him. Even if there were no ripples of reflection to trace between her courage and big world view...between mother and son. Even then, we'd want to know about this woman, about this life, about this way of seeing the world and being in it.

I find the article extremely moving. Janny Scott has written a nuanced portrait worthy of its subject...the subject being not only the mother, the seeker, the doer...but the subject being women in the world...the subject being a human way of relating in the world...the subject being a woman who was an arc across cultures and ways of being. She just stepped across the barriers.

A friend says of her: "She had a world view, even as a young girl. It was embracing the different, rather than that ethnocentric thing of shunning the different. That was where her mind took her.”

May our minds take us there. May we embrace the different. May our centers shift, without wobbling, to embrace continents and peoples.

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1 Responses »

  1. May be all be so enlightened! Wonderful story and post, Janet

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