In honor of Mothers Day, I thought I might offer a few words of encouragement and recognition to all those mothers who have sacrificed and given so much through the years, and to the new mothers who are just beginning to find out what their mothers told them is really true: "When you're a mother, you'll understand."
It's not easy being a mother, especially a good mother. A good mother loves her children unconditionally, but that doesn't mean that we overlook their faults, accept bad behavior without chastisement, give in to their every whim and accept being disrespected. It means that no matter what they choose to do, we never turn our backs on them, we let them know if their behavior is wrong or self destructive or embarrassing to them and us. We continue to talk to them, give guidance, let them know that we are there if they need it, and are always in prayer for them. There really is something to the saying: "If you bring up a child in the way he should go, he will not depart from those ways." They may stray, but if they have been brought up right, and believe in God, then sooner of later they will come back to what they know is right.
Raising children, providing for them and making sacrifices is what is required of being a parent. There are usually no awards given for good parenting, except living to see your child grow up to be a responsible, loving and productive adult.
I have heard parents say, "After all I have done for you, clothing you, feeding you and putting you through school, you owe me." They don't owe us anything but respect. It is our duty to raise our children and provide for them -- to be the best mother possible to them.
As far as being a mother, we sometimes lose sleep worrying about our children, asking ourselves where did we go wrong, what could we have done differently. The answer is simple: Life. Life holds no guarantees; it is full of risk, valley lows, mountain highs and many in betweens. We do the best with what we have and strive to make it to the next level. We pray that our children will do better than we did, have more than we had, and be better people than we are. This does not always come to pass. We often make the mistake of trying to give our children everything they want, which creates false impressions of life. It may make some feel that since they always had everything growing up, that they have to continue having everything they want even if they get it by any means necessary. We need to teach them the value of things early in life, that certain things have to be earned by dedication and hard work.
Mothers need to teach their daughters to respect themselves, not to accept being disrespected or mistreated. They need to know they deserve to be loved. So many young women have the mentality that they need to get all they can from whoever they can get it from.
Let's teach our daughters to be receptive to a good man, not judge him by his bank account or the car he drives.
In raising our sons, we need to teach them to respect women, not look at them as a possession. Our sons need to know that having more than one relationship at once does not make him a real man, nor does having babies all over. If there is no father in the home, Mom needs to see that he is exposed to a good male figure -- a man who has values, someone who can teach him some of the things that only a man can teach. Our sons need to be taught how to take care of themselves, how to cook, clean, iron and etc.
I say all this to say congratulations to all mothers for a job well done, for making a resolution to be better mothers, and loving unconditionally, for going the extra mile, for tears shed and prayers said. I wish that on this Mother's Day you will be treated like royalty, praised and appreciated, and shown much love and gratitude.
To all mothers, "Happy Mother's Day."
May this be your best ever.