A lot has been said about the influence of moms throughout history - everything from, "The hand the rocks the cradle, rules the world," to, "The single most powerful word in any language is, 'mother'". But I think my all-time favorite is, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Ha! Truer words were never spoken!! The problem is, we just don't seem to hear such messages anymore.
From the moment our precious little ones are placed in our arms at birth today's society seems to want to relegate moms to the back bench. From a government education system that makes moms feel as if only the "professionals" can teach our own children, to the modern feminist message that the act of "mothering'" is quite beneath us, we are made to believe that there's nothing really special about our role after all. We're often treated as just baby making machines whose only "mothering" function is the physical act of creating a child.
The truth is that Mom does set the tone for the home, and we have tremendous influence over the moods, actions and lives of everyone who enters our door. And that influence is a fact we cannot change - no matter how much the pop culture tries. In fact, in national surveys of teens, when asked who has the greatest influence on them, the majority of teens say, "my parents". This, even though many kids are now consuming up to eight hours of media a day.
The take-away message for moms? You have no choice about whether or not you are an influence - the choice is what type of influence you will be. Your actions and words will either shape your children for good or for bad. And your silence also speaks volumes: when you are too busy or too tired to take the time to talk to your children, the message that comes through loud and clear is that they are not important. If your child is watching a violent or sexually- laden television program and you say nothing, the silence is taken as an endorsement of the behavior.
During this season in which we celebrate moms, it's a wonderful opportunity for all of us moms to recommit to nurturing our children to the fullest of our abilities, to deliberately pass on our values to them, and to unequivocally reject any and all messages that weaken our God-given role. And let us vow every day to know the difference between "running a house" and creating a home that family members really do look forward to "coming home to."
As I describe in my new book, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family, a house is a place made of walls, and floors and rooms. It is physical structure of function and utility. It is cement and pipes and wood and wiring. It is governed by parameters of the physical world - the water comes out here, you can access electricity there; paint peels, wood rots, and weeds eventually take over.
A home, on the other hand, is a place of belonging, acceptance, and comfort. It is a place where family members can make mistakes, be challenged to be their best, and experience the warmth that comes with grace, forgiveness, and redemption. It is where life stories are molded, where verses and chapters are added as the years pass. It is a space for development of the soul, the shaping of the spirit, and the expansion of the mind. A home is a place for reflection and quiet - a respite from the pressures of the world.
Some reading this column will respond with sadness that they never had a mom they could rely on. But such deep past hurts can begin to heal when you work to create the home you always craved. Other moms might feel regret or guilt over past mistakes of their own. Please, do not let the past rob you of the joy and potential of today. Vow to put all ugliness and sorrow behind you and do everything in your power to become the mother of your dreams. Each generation offers an amazing opportunity to start over - to build a beautiful, loving home that will bless generations to follow.
It's time to stand up and shout, "I'm the Momma!" - and to live out that amazing calling every day, humbled on our knees before God for his grace, wisdom and guidance. In so doing, we will discover the positive power and joy of mothering.