Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. It marks 41 years since my first Mother’s Day without my mother, who passed away on May 5, 1979, just one week before Mother’s Day. It was a sad time for her children, and we mourn anew each year. My mother was a little woman. She was about five feet two inches tall and weighed less than one hundred pounds. She had blue eyes, and her hair was snow white when she died at age 70.
The writer of Proverbs 31:28 could have been describing my mother when he wrote, “Her children rise up, and call her blessed.” There are numerous ways that Mom blessed the lives of her children because she had many good character traits. The characteristic that I remember most is that I never heard my mother say a bad word about any person. She did not gossip or spread rumors about anyone.
Many people recognize that mothers impact the lives of their children in many ways. A righteous mother has a lasting influence for good, and a wicked mother can make a horrible impact on her children. The Reverend Billy Graham was fortunate to have a righteous mother who taught her children well. He wrote the following about the influence of a mother:
Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children. Someone has said, “Like mother, like children.” Most the noble characters and fine leaders of history have had good, God-fearing mothers. We are told that George Washington’s mother was pious, and that Sir Walter Scott’s mother was a lover of poetry and music. On the other hand, we are told that Nero’s mother was a murderess and that the dissolute Lord Byron’s mother was a proud and violent woman. The influence of a mother upon the lives of here children cannot be measured. They know and absorb her example and attitudes when it comes to questions of honesty, temperance, kindness, and industry.
A woman does not have to be perfect to be a good mother. In fact, a woman does not even have to be a mother to work a lasting motherly influence on the rising generation. Genesis 3:20 tells us that “Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” At that point, Adam and Eve were still living in the Garden of Eden, and Eve had not borne any children. Every girl and woman show motherly instincts as they reach out and bless the lives of other people. Many children do not grow up in the home of a righteous mother, but they are blessed by another woman who loves them as a mother.
Kay C. James is the president of The Heritage Foundation, and she posted an essay with the title “A Mother’s Impact Reaches Far Beyond Her Children.” James reminded her readers that “the family is the fundamental building block of our society. It’s where new generations are created and meant to be nurtured and taught morals, values, and personal responsibility – the things that a society needs from its citizens to flourish.” Since mothers are usually with the children more than the fathers, it is often the mothers who instill these characteristics in their children. James recognized that many mothers do not even “realize that their role has an impact that goes far beyond their own families – a role so pivotal to society that it’s truly one of the most significant things they will do in their lives… The research bears it out.” So, what does the research say?
The strength of our families has a significant impact on each and every American – from the amount of taxes we pay, to the growth of our economy, to the level of crime in our neighborhoods.
Years of research has shown that the children of nurturing, intact families are more likely to have higher academic performance and greater emotional maturity as well as more financial stability as adults. They are less likely to commit crimes and abuse drugs and alcohol.
From a societal standpoint, strong families led by nurturing mothers and fathers mean less poverty and dependence on the welfare system, fewer crimes, a healthier and better educated populace, and a stronger economy, among other benefits.
Many women desire to be mothers, but they fear that children would limit their career choices. Other women limit their careers to have children. Some women seem to have the best of both worlds, and James seems to be one of them. She explained that she grew up with a single mother who worked hard all day every day to provide for her children. James missed having her mother at home and thought of her own childhood experience as she pursued her career. She felt that she needed to be home while her children were young, and she was. James says that “No one can tell me that being a stay-at-home mom prevents you from having a successful career.” She admits that it took planning and sacrifice, “but the results were well worth it.” Here is James’ suggestion for Mother’s Day:
This Sunday, while we’re wishing our mothers and grandmothers a happy Mother’s Day, we also need to acknowledge their unique contribution to society – one that has helped make this nation the envy of the world.
Strong families remain America’s best anti-poverty, anti-crime, pro-health, pro-prosperity institution, and we have moms to thank for much of that.
Mothers of all kinds play a unique role in society. Their influence is felt in society for generation after generation. A dear friend once told me how I would know if I was a good mother. She told me to watch how my children parent my grandchildren, and only then would I know if I had been a good mother. Parents are usually too busy to look far into the future, but grandparents and great-grandparents can look at their posterity and see the fruits of their labors.