Friday, May 7, 2010
Power in Motherhood
Never underestimate the power in motherhood for righting the wrongs in the world. Mothers hold a key position because of their influence in the lives of their children. "A mother has far greater influence on her children than anyone else, and she must realize that every word she speaks, every act, every response, her attitude, even her appearance and manner of dress affect the lives of her children and the whole family. It is while the child is in the home that he gains from his mother the attitudes, hopes, and beliefs that will determine the kind of life he will live and the contribution he will make to society" (N. Eldon Tanner, "No Greater Honor: The Woman's Role," New Era, Jan. 1977, 31). If you doubt the effect of mothers in the lives of their children, here are some words spoken by young men who were going off to fight in their first war. These young men had been taught by their mothers to put their trust in God and not doubt His power. They told their commander, "We do not doubt our mothers knew it" (Alma 56:48). The faith of these 2060 young men kept them alive when men were dying all around them. There is real power in motherhood! The great good in the world today as well as the terrible evils are the results of the way that the children of yesterday were reared. The nation and the world will follow where the next generation leads, and mothers control the direction of the rising generation. We must never forget the principle enshrined in a poem written by William Ross Wallace and published in 1865. He wrote, "For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." Motherhood is the preeminent force for change in the world because any changes that we want in the world must first take place in the home. We have the words of two different prophets of God that emphasize the need for parents to teach their children correct principles. President David O. McKay said, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home." President Harold B. Lee said, "The most important work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home." There are numerous good reasons why God sent us as babies to families on earth. One of those reasons included the desire for the babies to be taught properly. E. T. Sullivan explained the way God works to change the world with these words, "We fancy that God can only manage His world with battalions, when all the while He is doing it by beautiful babies. When a wrong wants righting, or a truth wants preaching, or a continent wants opening, God sends a baby into the world. When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn't stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts. Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother's heart, and she puts it into the baby's mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies" ("God's Way," The Treasure Chest , p 53). Babies soon grow into youth, and youth quickly matures into adulthood. Those babies will be forces for good or evil, depending in large measure on how they were reared. The wise writer of Proverbs declared, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). A mother's example will do more than anything else to impress a pattern of life on the minds of her children. A story is told about a group of women in ancient Rome who were showing their beautiful jewels to each other with great pride and vanity. Cornelia, the mother of two boys, was among the group. One of the women asked Cornelia, "And where are your jewels?" Cornelia answered by pointing to her sons and saying, "These are my jewels." She taught her sons by her good example and virtuous life. The two sons were Gaius and Tiberius Gracchus - the Gracchi, as they were called. They became two of the most persuasive and effective reformers in Roman history. Those who remember and speak of them also remember and praise the mother who reared them after the manner of her own virtuous life. I do not wish to ignore the effect of fathers on children because the influence of fathers is great also. Motherhood is so powerful because the bond between mother and child is there long before the birth of the child. It is usually the mother who spends the most time with children because mothers are usually in the home more than fathers are. If you listen carefully to the way that great men talk about their mothers, you will understand that mothers have a powerful influence on their children. It is mother who has the greatest ability to bring comfort and security to a frightened or unhappy child. For all these reasons, mothers carry much power in the lives of their children. "When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling that what happened in congresses?" (Neal A. Maxwell, "The Women of God," Ensign, May 1978, 10-11). The world and our nation would be much more beautiful if every mother regarded her children as the jewels of her life. Mothers will determine to a large extent what our nation will be like for the next generation by what they put into the minds of their children. This is why I state that there is great power for good or evil in motherhood!