Happy Mother's Day!
- Mike Farris, Esq. President of Patrick Henry College
- 2002 12 May
My favorite poet, Dr. Seuss, once wrote a moving passage that describes the essential nature of a mother's role in bringing her children into the world.
If you'd never been born, well then what would you be?
You might be a fish! Or a toad in a tree!
You might be a doorknob! Or three baked potatoes!
You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes.
Or worse than all that. . . Why, you might be a WASN'T!
A Wasn't has no fun at all. No, he doesn't.
A Wasn't just isn't. He just isn't present.
But you. . . You are YOU! And, now isn't that pleasant.
It is a sad day when Dr. Seuss seems to grasp the essential uniqueness of human life but that same point eludes a majority of the United States Supreme Court, but that is another subject for another day.
On May 12, we celebrate those women who have become mothers. I would like to share three points about mothers from Scripture to demonstrate the power of a mother in a child's life.
The Power of a Mother's Prayer
Hannah faced one of the greatest challenges any mother knows - giving up her child to be raised by another. Her story starts with a prayer.
In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head." 1 Samuel 1:10-11
God answered her prayer and while Samuel was still young she brought him to Eli to be raised in unique service to God. We find that the telling of this story is followed by the quotation of Hannah's prayer of dedication of her son in 1 Samuel 2.
Samuel did not write the book which bears his name when he was five or six years old - he did it much later in his life. Have you ever wondered how he remembered the exact words of his mothe's prayer so many years later?
While God could have supernaturally reminded him of the words, I think it is far more likely that Hannah saw to it that her son had these words committed to his memory. She could have prayed it over him every night for the time that she had him at home before sending him to Eli. Or she could have written it down and given it to Samuel when she sent him off.
Either way, I believe that Hannah knew that Samuel would face times of loneliness when he missed his mother. For those times, Hannah wanted her heart to be revealed to her son in this prayer.
Let me encourage you to follow Hannah's example. Compose a special prayer for each of your children. Write it in the back of their Bible or in some other special location (keep a copy in case they lose their Bible). Let your children see your heart for them in this kind of special prayer.
The Power of a Mother's Protection
Moses' mother knew he did not deserve to die according to Pharaoh's decree. She took steps to protect his life from the evil system they lived in.
All mothers (correctly) think that their children are fine children. But not all mothers are diligent in protecting their children from the evil system that we live in.
When I worked for Concerned Women for America, I handled a case involving a custody battle between a Christian mother and a homosexual father. In the course of this case I examined and cross-examined top psychological experts.
A Jewish psychiatrist testified that boys do not become homosexuals genetically. Homosexual temptation (which can be overcome) usually results from a premature exposure to sex, he said. Either a boy is molested, has a serious exposure to pornography, or some other explicit form of sexual material. One such type of exposure is modern sex education.
Mothers need to be diligent to protect their sons and daughter from the filth in our society. Some of that filth comes dressed in the faux robes of sex education. Protect your children from such moral pollution.
Home-schooling mothers get a lot of grief for sheltering their children. While we want our kids to get appropriate interaction with others, do not flinch for a minute when people accuse you of sheltering your children from evil. Shelter them with pride.
The Power of a Mother's Teaching
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 2 Timothy 1:5
There is little doubt that Timothy learned about God and developed his faith in Christ as a result of his mother's teaching. Scripture never commands, but assumes, that mothers will teach their children. For example, Proverbs 6:20 says, "My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching."
All moms teach their children. Home-schooling moms teach in an extraordinary manner. Academics are important. But I want all moms to remember that academics are not the most important things you teach your children.
Teaching your child about God is not the most important thing either. Listen very carefully to what I am about to say so that there will be no misunderstanding. Teaching about God is important, but the most important thing you can teach your child is to believe in God.
Timothy's faith first lived in his grandmother, and then in his mother. It then lived in Timothy. A mother's faith in God can be taught. But children learn primarily from your actions. If you want your child to believe in God, live your daily life in faith.
Do you complain a lot? A mom who complains about her lot in life teaches her child that God is inadequate to meet her needs. A mother with a positive outlook on life teaches her children her faith.
Do you resist or resent your husband's authority? A mom who chafes against the authorities in her life will teach her children that God's authority may also be resisted. A mom living happily with her husband teaches her children to cling to her faith.
Do you speak disparagingly to your children? Last summer, I heard two moms on the airplane talking about their kids. One said, "A real vacation would be one away from these kids." THEIR KIDS WERE SITTING RIGHT THERE!
Children who hear such things will have a hard time believing in a God who, they are taught, loves them unconditionally. It is fine to speak boldly against your child's sin. But never, never, never speak evil about your child's very existence. If you do your child will have an extraordinary roadblock that may block his or her ability to ever adopt your faith.
Children will learn from their mothers. And from their fathers. Will they learn to believe in the God you serve? Your teaching through actions and words to them will have a powerful, perhaps decisive impact on their faith.
Mike Farris is the president of Patrick Henry College (www.phc.edu) and the chairman of the board of Home School Legal Defense Association (www.hslda.org). Most importantly, he and his wife Vickie have ten children and six grandchildren.