By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing Writer, B&R
Observing my own mother and others, I often wondered about the responsibility that goes with rearing a child. And how did they find the energy to teach a youngster all the important things for life? After all, the period of childhood is so brief and there is so much to learn.
In conversation with numerous Christian mothers, I developed a wish list where many of the issues we need to teach fall into these categories. As Mother’s Day approaches on May 9, consider these three issues.
Serve others. I’m reminded of a news story where a woman showed up to wash dishes for a family who lost a loved one. She didn’t say, “Call me if there is anything I can do.” Instead, she showed up. Perhaps we all need to “just show up,” more often.
Teaching our children to think of others, instead of self, helps a child grow in maturity and responsibility.
In serving others, we show the love of Christ to people. Matthew 19:19 reads, “Jesus replied, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Respect yourself. When our son graduated from high school, an older relative sent him a congratulation card. Along with a check and an encouraging printed message, she wrote a personal note, which read: “You’ve inherited a good name. Your family is respected in the community. Do your best to keep your life clean. Respect yourself.”
The choices we make in life can be both positive and negative. One mother explained it this way to her teenagers: “Sometimes the choices we make can leave scars that stay with us. When we pray and ask for forgiveness, God forgives us. We may ask for pardon and mercy from those we have offended. But the “scars” of a bad choice can affect, not only the person, but the entire family. This can carry over into a career, choosing a marriage partner and opportunities that may be denied.
Who is the person your child sees when looking in a mirror? Do they see a kind, generous, loving individual? Or, do they see someone who has a poor self-image, fearful or intolerant?
If God so loved the world, that He was willing for His son to die for us, we should be worthy of this sacrifice (reference from John 3:16).
Love God. A pastor friend prayed that his children would be willing to serve God wherever He called them to go. Then, his adult son was called to be a missionary in a foreign country. This meant taking the pastor’s grandchildren to live thousands of miles away.
As mothers and fathers, we may ask God to use our children, but are we really willing for them to serve Him in ways we have not considered? Maybe other children … but not ours.
The Bible tells us in Matthew 22:37-38, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”
A “Wish List for Mothers” could be endless, but the three above are a good start. B&R — Tomlin, of Jackson, writes for the Christian magazine and newspaper market.