It has been said that the “hand who rocks the cradle, rules the world”.
Given that a mother is the most influential person in a child’s formative years, that statement is probably very true!
Although my mother taught me many things, these are six lessons that I remember learning very well!
1. SACRIFICIAL LOVE
When I was five or six years old, I was playing with neighbor kids who lived next door to my grandparents in Copeland, Kansas.
There was a large dog who was running and playing with us and for whatever reason, this dog became agitated and attacked me as I was running.
I was terrified as he knocked me to the ground and stood over me snarling and baring his teeth.
My mother, who had just gotten out of the hospital and weighed less than 100 lbs. came flying out of the house with no thought for herself and tried to get the dog off of me.
She succeeded in removing him, only to have him begin lunging at her throat and mauling her as she attempted to protect herself.
Fortunately, my father came to her aid after seeing what was happening and he was able to put the dog in a headlock and subdue him.
I will never forget my mother’s bravery and her display of sacrificial love.
That was one of many times that I saw her model the scripture: “Greater love has no man than this that He lay down His life for his friends.” John 15:13.
I never fully understood that sort of love that my mother had until my own daughter became extremely ill and had to be put on a ventilator and flown to KU med center. I remember the social worker having me fill out papers and asking me if there was anything I wanted.
My response? “Can I please just take her place?”
LESSON 2: OBEDIENCE
Mom may have been small on the outside but she was big on the inside and I knew better than to cross her.
I wouldn’t have dreamed of sassing my mom or rolling my eyes at her in disgust.
I can remember being around five years old and riding my tricycle down our back alley to explore some things.
After a while, my mom hollered for me to find out where I was. I heard her but I wasn’t in any hurry to get back home.
Slowly, in my own time, I came cruising back up the alley towards home only to find her halfway to me with a switch in her hand!
I got switched on my little legs all the way home for not answering her when she called.
She wasn’t angry near as much as she was scared because when I hadn’t answered her, she thought something had happened to me.
I learned after that to respond to her when she called and that meant immediately!
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 6:1 “Children obey your parents in the lord for this is right”
LESSON 3: RESPECT!
Respect was huge in my home!
Both of my parents were sure to teach us to respect God, others and self.
In my house, you were not allowed to curse and especially not to say any “G” words unless you were praying! That meant, no “Jeez”, “gosh darn it’s” or even “ga’ll”. We were expected to respect God and his name.
I also learned at a young age to respect others.
I can remember being around five or six and daily watching a man in an electric wheelchair motoring down the street past our house.
I thought this was a great novelty and would run a long side him laughing as he went.
That is until my mother observed my actions and pulled me aside to ‘school’ me on a few things.
She told me that this man was handicapped and that my running alongside him laughing at him was disrespectful and would be seen as making fun of him.
From that day on, I made it a point to just smile and wave as he went by.
Respecting others property was a life lesson that I learned at a young age as well.
My mother was shocked to learn from our neighbors that someone was getting in his garage and taking his Avon bottle collection.
It wasn’t too long after that, that my mother noticed a strong scent coming from the bush fort that my friend and I had been mixing a ‘witches’ brew in.
My friend and I were immediately marched to the neighbor’s house to confess that we had taken the Avon bottles.
So much for our witches brew!
Mom taught self -respect as well.
On my very first date, a boy asked me to go with him and some friends to a drive-in. When I asked my mom for permission, she replied that she expected me to know how to conduct myself and given her trust and expectation, that is exactly what I did!
Matthew 7:12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the law and the prophets.”
1 Peter 2:17 “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the King.”
LESSON 4: GUARD YOUR TONGUE
My mom was very wise when it came to the tongue.
She was leery of gossips and busy-bodies and didn’t want her daughter to be one!
She used to tell me not to say anything behind someone’s back that I wasn’t willing to say to their face.
I found out the hard way the wisdom of her words!
I had a friend who had been especially annoying one particular day and so I decided to share that information with another little girl, who promptly went and told her what I had said!
The friend I was annoyed with confronted me by asking if I had told such and so that she was a ‘spoiled brat’. Knowing I had been caught in my own trap, I had to admit, that yes indeed I had!
I learned a quick lesson that day that if you talk about somebody, good or bad, it just might come back to you!
She also taught me how to ignore gossips and slanderers who would try to spread rumors about me. I can remember a girl saying something very hurtful and untrue about me one day at school. When I told my mother, she replied that the people who are truly my friends and know my character wouldn’t believe it anyway, and the ones who would believe false rumors about me probably weren’t the sort of friends I would want.
James 3:6 “See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life and is set on fire by hell.”
This ties right in with lesson 5 from my mom:
LESSON 5: HUMILITY
My mother was not impressed with self-righteous attitudes at all.
I remember back in the 70’s when Christian entertainer, Anita Bryant was in the news because she was getting divorced.
I made some statement to my mother about how wrong this was and I was rebuked quickly for judging a situation that I knew nothing about.
My mother did not think that I could make any judgments about Anita Bryant and her marriage based on hearsay from newspapers. Who was I to know what all had gone on in her personal life.
To this day, I am reminded that I will hear and read a lot of things about people but if it doesn’t directly involve me, it is none of my business and better left to them and God to sort out.
SCRIPTURE: Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned”
LESSON 6: DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY!
When adolescence brought the moody blues to my doorstep, my mother had a way of making me laugh right out of my grumpy attitude!
She would begin by over-exaggerating all the woes of the world and pretty soon, I would be laughing. She had a way of putting life in perspective.
I remember being a teenager and going with mom to try on a pair of boots that I liked. I put them on and walked around in them asking them what she thought. She mentioned that she would like them better if they were on the right feet!
I looked down only to discover that she was right! We got the giggles so bad that we almost didn’t recover and to this day, still laugh about that incident.
I have seen her weather many of life’s storms and choose to find some laughter along the way despite the circumstances
SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”
These are only six of the many lessons I learned from Mom. There isn’t enough time to share all of the many lessons and to this day, I still continue to learn from her wisdom!
The hand that rocked my cradle helped to form how I affect my world, and hopefully, the lessons I have learned will contribute to making it a better place!
Happy Mother’s Day!