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Mothering Never Ends

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

It’s said that the most powerful word in any language is “mother.”

I believe that’s true, not just for the effect we have on our children when they are small, but because mothering never ends.

As every mom of adult children can attest, love for our sons and daughters only increases with time. You come to love them more and more as unique individuals who you can learn from, too.

My own awesome three adult children have expanded my world and thinking as I’ve watched them pursue their own unique gifts — gifts I just don’t have. I so enjoy learning to see the world through their eyes and experiences.

Mothering as an older mom adds much depth to life, but in very measured quantities because you pretty much have to be invited in. And it’s critical to wait patiently for such priceless invitations and to grab as many of them as possible. Making sure your sons and daughters understand that you are available and ready to serve, but never insisting on invading their space, is an important (but often difficult) formula to live by.

For the older mom who might feel a little left out and who feels like you still have so much to give, I have great news. The Bible tells us that with age comes a critical new mandate: mentoring younger women.

In Titus 2, there are clear directives to “older” women, proving that our worth, value and influence only increase with age. The admonishments remind us that even if we’ve lived in ways we aren’t proud of, or “messed up” as moms the first time around, it’s never too late to learn how to bless others.

Paul says the church should first teach older women to be reverent (instead of behaving as if our age gives us license to be exceedingly sassy); to not be slanderers (in other words, no one likes a gossipy old woman); that we are not to be addicted to much wine (meaning we can enjoy some wine!); and to teach what is good. I wonder how many churches actually have classes for such things? Not many, I’m afraid.

And that’s a tragedy in a culture where millions of young women now entering marriage and motherhood come from broken families. Many had absent mothers or were from homes where mom was swamped with the responsibilities that a one parent household brings and maybe was just so exhausted at the end of the day that she wasn’t physically or emotionally able to pour into the lives of her children.

Older women, if you’re feeling lost or ineffective because your kids are grown and gone, God’s word gives us the great news that we all have a job left to do, and a wonderful, powerful one at that: teaching good things!

And it gets better. Paul goes on to say that living reverently, not being gossips or “addicted to much wine,” and teaching good things enables older women to effectively encourage younger women how to better love their husbands and children.

In other words, we have a responsibility to “mother” younger women in a way that helps them become better moms. And that includes teaching them to love their husbands more fully. Have you ever heard the saying, “the most powerful thing parents can do for their children is to love each other?” Truer words were never spoken.

In this week approaching Mother’s Day, think about someone in your own life who needs a little mothering. Then, after taking the time to get your own heart in order, reach out and offer your help and support to that young woman. Even if you didn’t have a great role model, learn to be the mother of your dreams, and pass the blessing along.

To my own precious late mom, who mothered completely for as long as she was able, thank you for your love, sacrifice, and example. My life’s goal is to help teach other women to be like you.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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