Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day! What is A Good Mother?


For a number of years, a Russian peasant woman held the record for having the most children. She bore 69—including numerous multiple births. She was most certainly a mother. (And undoubtedly a tired one.) But, I can't help wondering, was she a good mother?
What is a good mother, anyway?
A good mother doesn't nag — much. Only the essential amount and only about essential matters. Like where to squeeze the toothpaste, how to hang up pants without making eight creases, the inadvisability of 20-minute showers, and which noises are easily produced but socially unacceptable.
A good mother has a speech that begins, “When I was your age, kids had it much harder. My mother didn't take me everywhere. I didn't have all these things you kids take for granted....” She belts out this national anthem of motherhood regardless of the indifference of the crowd. She can make herself heard over a blaring CD player by teenagers hanging opossum-like over a bed with a phone plastered to one ear.
A good mother cooks, cleans, and launders without expecting to be appreciated. She knows that only in TV commercials do kids get excited about fragrant T-shirts or seeing their reflection in the china. In real life most kids have lost the directions to the laundry room and would be content to eat off paper plates or pizza boxes eternally.
But a good mother is much more than just a resident reminder service, cook, cleaning lady, and laundress. A good mother is a launching pad with a soft lap: hardheaded about discipline (especially compared with “everyone else's mother”) and soft-hearted about everything else. She motivates her children to help them reach their full potential and praises them whenever she catches them doing something right.
A good mother gives her children more than a balanced diet and a roof over their heads. She teaches them how to feed their souls and gives them a spiritual foundation on which to build. She directs them into the right paths and prays for them when they occasionally wander off onto others.
A good mother cares how her children turn out. She doesn't just wait for them to get out.
Stationary companies have tried to glorify motherhood by producing syrupy slogans on plaques. One of the worst is: “God couldn't be everywhere, so He created mothers.” That phrase may sell a lot of trivets, but it just isn't so. God is everywhere, and mothers can't be. I know because I've tried.
Maybe God created mothers because He needed someone to keep every generation reminded of His presence. Good mothers have been doing that for thousands of years, ever since Eve held her first wriggling infant in her arms.
Motherhood doesn't need to be sentimentally glorified with ridiculous statements, but it does need to be respected. It is a high calling, a God-given challenge.
The writer of Proverbs 31 described the woman who, like his mother, was a good mother: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed” (Proverbs 31:25-28a, New International Version).
As important as mothers are to us, it is amazing how often we take them for granted. Mother's Day is a good time to arise and call your mother blessed, but any day will do as well — as long as you do it before it is too late.
Legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant used to remind his players: “Be sure to call your Mom.” Then he would add wistfully, “I wish I could call mine.”

Have a fun day with your family!! 

Compliments of ... Vicki Huffman is a syndicated columnist and former editor with Thomas Nelson Publishing Co.


NanaDiana said...

Valarie- What a great Mother's Day post- Happy Mom's Day to you- xo Diana

Pat said...

What a wonderful post!!!

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