A mother’s love is fantastic and bright,
A soothing fire light, escorting us gently,
Urging us firmly to just “be me” and With every dream that buds,
Trust that we will make it.
There’s no corner office with my name prominently displayed on the door. The hours are long. Someone else is always first. There are no paycheck bonuses in my future. There are always unexpected duties and unscheduled conferences. Still, motherhood is beautiful, carrying with it indescribable powers and everyday blessings.
No, my audience isn’t a million. My audience fits in a minivan. I’m changing the world right here in my own home. I’m raising a family unto the Lord. A woman doesn’t have to give up her dreams and ambitions for the sake of those in her life. However, I do believe that her aspirations should not be to the detriment of her family’s well-being. Climbing the corporate ladder is fine as long as your children are not made to suffer. No woman has the right to have children and then not put them first.
The art of parenting requires balance. Parents are like gardeners- tending, pruning, nourishing and always cultivating. Breaking up the soil and diligently removing weeds will create a beautiful garden that will provide years of enjoyment. Being kind and gentle, firm yet patient with my children is my goal.
My children are precious to me. A person can hold my wallet, car keys and ATM card with the PIN number before I remove my watchful eyes. Ladies, let’s stop allowing people we barely know to watch our children. Stop offering up our babies on the altar of romance, just to have a chance to have a man by our side. Our children are depending on us for protection, guidance and love. We owe our best to our children.
Our children are fertile ground and they’re looking for somewhere to hang their hearts. Let’s teach them all the things we weren’t taught. Let’s teach them and actively show them where to focus their hearts and minds. The world is bound and determined to lead them astray. The enemy wants to steal your child and attacks in various ways. That only means that we have to be that more vigilant in raising our children.
Parents need to invest in their child’s spiritual well-being, help them build character and understand the importance of having integrity. Children need an investment of our time more than expensive purchases like laptops, tablets, cell phones and fashion. If our children are truly reflections of who we are, let’s make sure that they are kind and respectful, fruitful and creative – not fashion statements. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22: 6
Disrespect, unaccountability, and a sense of entitlement seem to be a sport with many young people today. Children are given so much, but nothing is required of them beyond good grades in school. For some, that’s not even a requirement. Children are setting the pace and dictating to their parents what they will and won’t do. If that’s not putting the cart before the horse, I don’t know what is. Children are young and strong, bolstered by friends and a society that tells them they are free to do as they please, even if that means suing parents who attempt to discipline. Understandably, parents are frustrated and way past exhausted.
This is not the time though to fall asleep at the wheel or just throw up our hands. In parenting, there is no room for lazy attitudes. We don’t help anyone when we withhold correction. We must be sure to address issues and redirect any unhealthy behaviors we notice. We can’t keep rewarding disobedience and disrespect and expect to see lasting improvements or experience the tide turning. Yes, parents are responsible for their children, but children also have a responsibility to show appreciation for the efforts and sacrifices made on their behalf.
Parents, we can’t be afraid to have our children upset with us. Saying “no” isn’t going to hurt anybody. “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15 NKJV). Children, pulled in so many directions, are faced with many choices and invitations. Society can be spiritually toxic. With peer pressure, life can be a minefield for our young people. We have to teach our children to better navigate tough situations and even manage bad moods.
I have an idea. Let’s be crazy enough to demand respect and excellence from our children. How do we serve them by spoiling them, but not equipping them? They need to know that they can do better. It should be no secret that we expect them to do their very best. Our children should have crystal-clear clarity about what flies in our households and what gets shut down.
Let’s continue to speak blessings over our children. Teach them early to pray and trust our God, who can equip them for every challenge life brings. Let’s listen to our children with excitement and an eager heart. Let’s answer all of their questions like we’re being graded. Let’s continue to affirm good behavior and right choices. Let’s congratulate them on successes, praise their strengths and guide them in areas where they are still learning.
Let’s laugh with our children and spend time with them whenever we can. Let’s soak them up during their “formative years.” Let’s do our best to accept every invitation to color, draw, play a game, watch a movie, or cook a meal together. Never be too busy to have a look at an invention, a work of art or literary creation. Enjoy the simplicity of picnics, light-up shoes, blowing bubbles, gathering leaves and picking fruit at the Farmer’s Market. Quality time with our children provides us the opportunity to know who they are, understand what’s important to them and gain insight into the dreams they have for their lives.
Mothers, we wear a cape no one sees, rescuing those unaware of impending danger, preparing our children for their future. Even when a mother is tired beyond belief and can barely lift her eyelids, she finds the strength to get the job done. Make sure you celebrate all the wonderful moments that make you proud to be a parent.
With love, laughter and prayer, we are building and giving our children all that truly makes one rich, like a relationship with the Lord, family connections, grateful hearts and eager spirits willing to serve others. Above all else, our children are loved and know that they are never a burden. Let’s be everything for our children, even if no one ever showed up to give us what we most needed. Let’s nurture the spark in our children until the embers grow into a flame too big to be extinguished by this world.
Blessings and love,
(Excerpt from my book The Blessed Woman Endeavor, available in the Apple Store.)