I never was a little girl, but I have to believe that little girls spend quite some time dreaming about one day being a mother. Little boys? Not so much. But girls – consider the amount of money spent year after year buying dolls, doll clothes, doll houses, and doll accessories.
Social scientists have spent the past couple of generations trying to tell us that there really is no innate difference in the behaviors of males and females, that any differences are the product of cultural input; the way each of us was raised. For thousands of years before this, we all knew that men and women were just wired differently. But then, we also “knew” the earth was flat and the sun revolved around it. Perceived differences in behavior of the sexes was just another old myth. Well, many recent studies, based upon both behavioral observation and neuroscience, say there are, in fact, real differences in the ways males think, feel, act, and react when compared to females. Who knew?
Which brings me to the subject of parenthood, and more specifically motherhood. There is a distinct difference in approach to parenting between moms and dads. God has just made women (generally) to be more sensitive, more relational than men. It is just another indicator of God’s magnificent design that He made men and women to be different in their temperament and approach to life (including the rearing of children), and He made it so that it takes two – one man and one woman – to have a baby. As a society increasingly impacted by single-parent families can attest, problems abound when God’s designed plan for raising kids is not followed. Kids need both parents, and both approaches to parenting. Most dads see a situation, and fix it. End of situation, let’s move forward. Moms are more interested in process. Why does this situation exist? What alternatives are possible? Which option best suits the sensibilities of my child? How is this going to affect my child’s development and relationships with others?
God gave women the responsibility and the privilege of carrying the baby for nine months prior to birth. What a great way to introduce the parents to their respective roles in raising the child. Dad is less encumbered, more free to provide, to go to battle, to gaze toward the far horizon. Mom is ever present, tending to the details of raising a child, nurturing and educating him. If dad is the advance scout of the family, mom is its rear guard. Mom is the feeder, the cleaner, the kisser of bumps and boo boos. She is the one who is there to see that the sharp things and the hot things do not hurt the baby. She is the one to make certain that birthdays and holidays are special memories, that kids are prepared for the first day of school, and after the last day of school, that a memorable and fun family vacation was planned. Mom sees to it that the kids have time to play with good friends and to foster connections with extended family members. Mom makes coming home after a day at elementary school or a semester at college inviting.
I know – in 21st century America, most moms are working outside the home, and I am painting an Ozzie and Harriet picture of home life. That is true. But, I do not believe that our present reality reflects God’s design for a family. Could we get by with fewer material goods and restore His plan for raising kids? We could, but I do not see us making that change anytime soon. Enough is never enough. Until and unless we make that change, moms will struggle, trying their best to perform well at work, at home, and with their various civic and religious responsibilities, and feeling guilty that they do not have time to perform any of these roles well. We are only making it more difficult for our moms by our pursuit of the new American dream of ever more and more stuff.
Being mom has always been the hardest job God has given us, but also the most rewarding. On this Mothers’ Day, make it a point to thank not only your mother, but the other moms you see today. Then, pray for her.
~ Hudd ~
(Kevin Huddleston – Elder at Fellowship at Cross Creek Church Branson, MO)