The act of giving birth is one that, when contemplated, makes the strongest of men shutter. Yet, young women go through the valley of the shadow to achieve the office.
During the life of a child there are many stages, each with its challenge. It begins with the elemental instincts of a child being formed.
The first three years of a child’s life shape all of the infant’s life. The true mother of the infant, Moses, had the child only the first three years of his life, yet in those formative years character was developed that made him one of history’s foremost leaders.
No stage has more challenges than the teen years. Suddenly a child that has always seen things as either black or white suddenly sees most things as gray. Authority, rules, standards and norms are challenged. During this delicate stage the child demands more freedom. This often results in conflict. The parent must give more freedom, but only after the child has proven the ability to act responsibility. When responsibility is shown, freedom must be given. If freedom is given without being merited, problems result. Most parents need guidance in guiding a child through this stage.
One wise, experienced counselor said parents should just hold on and pray as the child enters this stage.
The Hebrew words translated, “Train up a child in the way it should go,” was used to speak of teaching a child to suckle. The teaching process involved putting a pleasant tasting substance on one’s finger and rubbing the mouth of the infant with it. This motion stimulated the sucking instinct. The lesson means a new parent should stimulate responses in an infant that result in the child instinctively desiring those actions and reactions.
Notable characters have spoken well of their mothers.
President John Quincy Adams said, “All that I am my mother made me.”
Abraham Lincoln observed, “All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
Artist Benjamin West noted, “A kiss from my mother made me a painter.”
An ungrateful child should be reminded of some of the things for which he or she owes mother. You owe her for night watchman services on long nights of sickness or delayed home coming.
You owe her for her services as a cook for a child with a picky appetite. Cleaning and housekeeping service should also be on your “I O U” list.
There is no way to pay her for her services as a bodyguard to protect you from those boogey men that hid under your bed and in your closet.
Medical services included nursing you through mumps, measles, splinters and splints.
There is an extended delightful stage of parenthood. This is the scenario. One day the door will open. In will walk a young adult, your child, your best friend. That makes every challenge of every prior stage worth it — even the teenage years. Those will truly be happy mother’s days.
This holiday makes me all the more grateful for two mothers: the one who gave me birth, and the one who gave our children birth.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church.