A mother is the most influential person in the world; it is no wonder that every year a day is set to celebrate her. This year the day is set for 14th May.
Poet William Ross Wallace wrote, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” This is to emphasize the fact that a mother determines the character of a child and therefore strongly influences the type of society that the next generation will create.
Christians regard motherhood as a ministry. A mother teaches, protects, disciplines, nurtures, advices, advocates, guides, warns, listens, cuddles, hugs, kisses, soothes, treats bruises, nurses and feeds. The list is endless! A mother is so precious and priceless.
God considered it so important that we honour our mother such that it is one of the commandments, “Honour your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). It is the only commandment with a promise.
When you honour your mother, God blesses you with long life. Honour means to give significance. According to American Evangelical Christian author and Psychologist, James Dobson; the number one cause of depression among women is low self-esteem because we do not observe this commandment.
How do you honour your mother for the rest of your life? First, as a child you honour her by obeying her. You do this by following instructions, doing what they ask and minding directions. You do this willingly, cheerfully and immediately. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1).
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Second, as a teenager or young adult, you honour her by respecting her. You give her the gift of acceptance and forgiveness. “Each of you must respect your mother and father and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:3). The fact that you did not choose your mother nor did she choose you makes it absolutely necessary that you accept her; no matter how flawed she is.
Acceptance does not mean that you agree with everything she says or does or that she is perfect or that you ignore all her flaws. It means that you realise that God chose her to bring you into this world and he never makes a mistake. It involves forgiveness, because a mother is human and makes mistakes. Acceptance says, ‘I accept you in spite of your weaknesses’.
Third, honour her by the way you talk to her and by listening to her counsel. “Intelligent children listen to their parents; foolish children do their own things.” (Proverbs 13:1).
Just because your mother does not have it all together; does not mean she has nothing to offer you in terms of wisdom, counsel and advice. Even a broken clock is right twice in a day! God gave her to you for a purpose. “Listen to your father’s advice and do not despise your mother’s experience.” (Proverbs 23:22a).
Fourth, as an adult honour her with the gift of appreciation. Appreciate her effort - parenting is difficult, time consuming and demanding; and her sacrifice - parenting is expensive and she has given up a lot for you in form self-sacrifice. Value, treasure and esteem her by affirming her and staying in touch on a regular basis. For most of us, our mother’s life would have been much easier and better without us as their children. “When your mother is old, show her your appreciation.” (Proverbs 23:22b).
Many mothers are constantly battling with the enemy of self-doubt, unworthiness, inadequacy, frustration and feeling overwhelmed. You can affirm your mother by: praying for her; respecting her for the effort she put in raising you; and listening to her counsel (even if you do not agree with it - out of simple courtesy).
“Do what your father tells you and never forget what your mother teaches you. Keep their words with you, always locked in your heart. Their instructions will lead, protect and advice you. Their instructions are like a lamp; their corrections can teach you how to live.” (Proverbs 6:20-23).
Fifth, honour her by providing for her. This includes older women and widows. “Treat older women as you would your mother and treat younger women with all purity as you would your sisters. Take care of the widow who has no one else to care for her. But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God.” (1st Timothy 5:2-4).
American Philosopher, Historian and Psychologist James Dobson says, “The deepest craving in human nature is the need to be appreciated.” We often forget that happiness does not come from getting what we do not have; rather from recognizing and appreciating what we have.
Former USA President J.F. Kennedy says, “As we express our gratitude, we must not forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” Mark Twain says, “I could go a full two weeks on one good compliment.”
As Jesus hang on the cross, he honoured his mother by committing her to John who was his most faithful disciple. “Then he said to the disciple, behold your mother! And from that hour, that disciple took her to his own home.” (John 19:27). Whatever relationship you may have with your mother, I implore you to honour her and receive God’s abundant blessings. For you reap what you sow.
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