Are You the Mother God Intended You to Be?
By Sylvia Cochran – Christian Parenting
What does it take to mother a child? If you throw in the Christian faith, what does it add to – or take away from – society’s expectations of motherhood?
Have you been spinning your wheels trying to measure up, wondering if there is more to being a mom than meets the eye? Take heart, there are a few responsibilities God has spelled out for you. The rest, well, is details.
- Raise a child for self-sufficiency. Cut the apron strings slowly at the appropriate times in life – but be sure to cut them! Genesis 2:24 talks about a man leaving the parental home to marry. You must teach a boy to be a man (or a girl to be a woman) who can take on responsibility for his or her own household. Give responsibility fairly but consistently. Allow a child to fight her battles but be aware and prepared to step in if needed; stay out if you are not needed. Older children – teens or the college grads living in the basement – might need a little spurring on. John 2:3 shows how Mary gently prodded Jesus to get started with his ministry of miracles.
- Teach a child to honor and respect you. It is said that respect is earned, but according to Leviticus 19:3, it is a God-given duty for your child to respect you. Demand respect and do not allow yourself to compromise for the sake of expediency. Honoring you is one of the 10 commandments mentioned in Exodus 20:12. Teach your child how you would feel honored. Perhaps it is the way she addresses you, a thoughtful flower picked here or there, or the way she keeps her room clean that makes you feel honored. Communicate it to your child and insist on obedience in this area.
- Make spirituality more important than your convenience. While Leviticus 21:11 discusses clean and unclean behavior even as it relates to one’s parents, Matthew 10:37 drives home the point that a Christian cannot love a mother more than Jesus Christ. Do not put your child in a position where he must choose to honor God or you. Instead, support the child’s spirituality even if it means driving out of your way, spending extra time at a youth group meeting or hosting a gaggle of kids at your home for the next ministry night in.
- Be a good influence in daily matters. In 2 Chronicles 22:3, the writer discusses that King Ahaziah was encouraged by his mother in doing wrong. Do not be this mom. Teach your child to be honest even in little things, have integrity in all things, and to daily treat others the way he would like to be treated. Of course, you have to live it to give it. “Do as I say not as I do’ will not fly.
- Provide comfort. Isaiah 66:13 talks about a mother’s comfort. Even if the warm-and-fuzzy gene seems to have passed you by, God has put you into the role of comforter. When there is a hurt, a disappointment, sadness or just the occasional blahs, mom provides comfort. Get busy and learn how to comfort your child.
- Pick your words wisely. When Mary went searching for Jesus – after a spectacular lapse in parental supervision reported in Luke 2:48 – she did not make a scene or scream at her boy. She couched her rebuke in the form of a question. Do likewise. Preaching at your kids does not work. Asking them questions to provoke some soul-searching is likely to work better in the end. (Avoid questions such as “what were you thinking” or “are you out of your mind?”)
- Stick with your kids in the bad times. While John 19:25 is an extreme example of motherly presence, you should make it clear that you will be at your child’s side through thick and thin. No matter how foolish some choices are and how dire the consequences the (grown) child brings on himself, be there as a mom whose presence comforts.
- Teach (always). Proverbs 1:8 and 6:20 talk about a mother’s teaching. This teaching encompasses everything from being honest to making good choices in daily life. Do not leave it to teachers, the youth minister, the in-laws or the child’s father. You are the one in charge of teaching.
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