Every Mother is a Teacher
- 2004 6 Oct
Some call it fall. Some call it Autumn. When I was growing up, we called it "back to school," and it was my mother's favorite season. As a high school teacher, she certainly enjoyed summer vacation, but she eagerly anticipated the return to school each year. She relished her profession and welcomed the season of its arrival in the same way she greeted her students: ready to teach, ready to give, and ready to applaud.
On the other hand, as a student, I dreaded the onset of fall in the same capacity that my mother welcomed it. I became apprehensive at the first indication of summer's end: an empty bottle of sun lotion, a torn flip-flop, or the fading of fireflies. Summer was always too short. It seemed I barely blinked my eyes before the slightest whisper of an autumn breeze was huffing down my neck and I was back at school. I was the student who sat watching the clock, waiting for the bell to ring, and longing to escape the confines of the classroom. The right instructor went a long way in easing my transition from the lazy, crazy, hazy of summer to the readin'-writin'-'rithmetic of the school day.
Once you enter the season of motherhood, you become a teacher. Isn't it a comfort to know that God has perfectly paired you with your little one? You are the right instructor for your child. Whether you are an educator by trade, a home schooling mom, or not--you are your child's teacher. The very nature of the relationship between mother and child is that of a teacher and a student.
Often our family will sit down to play a board game together. If the game is one that the children haven't played before, I will get out the rules and try to explain it to them. It never fails that they will become frustrated trying to understand the rules without playing the game. "Don't tell us how, Mom," they insist. "Show us how!"
I realize then that while I may feel I need to explain something to the nth degree, my children learn best when I show them. Even Jesus, who used a variety of teaching methods, including sermons, parables, and simple conversations, is best known for teaching by example. He wordlessly instructs us in parenting when we look at His life.
- Jesus was available. Nicodemus came to Christ in the middle of the night. Crowds were clamoring for Him at sunrise. He met the woman at the well during lunch hour. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice in laying down His life, but He also laid down his daily schedule in order to be available to meet the needs of others. Are you available for your kids?
- Jesus was affectionate. The Bible says that Christ took the children in His arms (Mark 10:16). He wasn't afraid to demonstrate physical love. He didn't mind being interrupted by a child who needed a hug. Affection is a tangible demonstration of your love, easily understood.
- Jesus was accepting. Jesus loved people unconditionally. He treated everyone with kindness and compassion. People were drawn to Him because they knew that in His presence they would find the peace of unconditional love. Children can learn to accept other people best when they have experienced being wholly loved at home.
A mother acquires the role of teacher as she simultaneously accepts the position of student. She must teach the very one who will be teaching her. There is much to be learned in this season of life. It goes far beyond the three R's. Mothers learn patience, compassion, and kindness as they train their children. They earn their degrees in Servanthood 101. They write their thesis papers on grocery lists, coloring books, and the backs of photographs they vow to scrapbook one day. You are Mom! As you greet your child each day ready to teach, ready to give, and ready to applaud, you will find that God is using this semester of life as your training ground. He will show you how.
Rebecca Ingram Powell is a certified speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries and the author of Wise Up! Experience the Power of Proverbs, a home school Bible curriculum for 6th through 9th grade girls. Visit www.rebeccapowell.com.