I’m a very blessed man, there’s no doubt about it.
Aside from the obvious benefits of living and working in America, I enjoy a privilege that even many Americans don’t have:
I have a good relationship with my mom.
Not everyone has that.
This Sunday being Mother’s Day, I wanted to use this “Think Right Thursday” to address the most critical relationship in every human’s life. I am so grateful that my mom not only lives in my town, but she comes to my office regularly (because she is also my patient). She loves my kids. We spend holidays together. We get along really well.
In fact, as I’m writing, I am also realizing how much I take for granted where she is concerned.
Everyone Has One, Not Everyone Enjoys the Benefits
Even though every single human being ever born had a mother, relatively few have a strong positive relationship with their mother.
There are many reasons for this:
- Some of us were given up for adoption as babies.
- Some were abused by their mother, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally.
- Some were ignored, abandoned, or neglected by their mother.
- Some didn’t see eye-to-eye with their mother.
- Some were abused by another family member and the mother did not protect them.
- Many have lost their mothers to death – some far too early.
That grieves me, but it also makes me appreciate what I have.
There’s a lot of hurting people out there, and some don’t even know why it hurts, but the roots go down to a special place in the center of the human heart reserved for that relationship with their mother.
Mom’s Role Is Irreplaceable
The role of a mother is so important in our lives. It’s written into our DNA. I know our culture has gotten away from gender-specific roles in recent years, thinking that we have “outgrown” such old-fashioned ideas, but we can’t deny our original design.
Women have unique characteristics that men do not have (the converse is equally true). It’s my belief that women were designed to be tender and gentle with children, but at the same time wise and intuitive. They can be strong and resilient when called upon to be, but it’s not the same. Men were not designed to care for children like a mother, nor were women designed to care for children like a father, and every human being needs both. Our culture pokes fun at the differences, and even tries to pretend that there are no gender differences, but we are different for a very important reason: our strengths complement each others’ weaknesses.
Mothers teach their sons how to treat a lady like a lady, and teach their daughters how to behave like a lady. They teach the boys to honor the women around them and teach the girls how to respect themselves and their own bodies. Men have things they can teach children, but they aren’t women, so the lessons are different, and come across different.
A child instinctively knows when he receives his mother’s love – and he instinctively knows when it is being withheld. A child denied his mother’s love shrivels up inside. I think at the root of many of today’s mental health problems is the sense of abandonment that comes when we don’t feel loved by our mothers.
I remember many years ago reading about the orphanages of the former Soviet Union – I believe this story came from Hungary. The orphanages were overwhelmed with lost and abandoned babies, and in one particular facility, they lay in cribs in rows from one end of the room to the other.
When local doctors received reports that half of the children in that orphanage were sick and dying, they visited to determine the cause. All the children received the same food, clothing, shelter, diapers, and basic needs. But someone observed that the overwhelmed staff picked up the babies in the first two rows more often than the babies in the rows further away from the doors. While all the babies received approximately the same amount of nourishment, the babies nearer the entry were talked and played with more frequently, so they thrived while the neglected babies withered away.
While our culture dismisses and demeans motherhood as a hindrance to personal advancement, our children suffer from neglect, even if their physical needs are met.
You know, as I pause in writing, my thoughts are filled with hundreds of good moms I’ve met over the years: ladies from church, ladies from my networking groups, mothers of my kids’ classmates, colleagues, and friends. I think of times I’ve seen so many of them interacting with their kids, and it gives me hope that those kids are going to turn out really well. My ex-wife is a good mom: strong, wise, gentle, and kind. I don’t say that enough — I never have.
My Thoughts On Motherhood
I’m not a counselor, psychologist, or any kind of expert at parenting, so my opinion is little more than my opinion. I could give you a list of what I think makes a good mom, but I don’t think it would mean much here. Instead, I want to leave this “Think Right Thursday” with a few quick thoughts about motherhood:
- Motherhood is not just important, it’s a matter of life or death in every human life.
- Motherhood is a gift from God, precious, and not to be taken lightly.
- Motherhood is not easy. In fact, it’s the hardest 24/7 job on earth, and it pays nothing.
- Everyone is human, and every mom makes mistakes at times. The best moms ask forgiveness.
- If your mom hurt you, forgive her – even if you can’t tell her that you did. Not for her sake, but so you can have peace in your heart. Remember, unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. You must release the bitterness of unforgiveness or it will kill you.
- If you are a mom and you did some things you wish you could take back, forgive yourself. Ask God to make up the difference in your children’s lives. He will.
If you have a mom, whether you think she was a good mom or not, take the time to thank her. She would appreciate the call.
Thanks to you, Barbara Stohler. You’re the best mom I could have had, and I love you.
Have a happy Mother’s Day this weekend. Do something memorable. Treat this Mother’s Day like it’s the last you will get to spend with your mom.
“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your principles is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas