Subscribe to the Real Truth for FREE news and analysis.Subscribe Now
“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”
This quote is from George Washington—statesman, military leader and first president of the United States.
It is a mother’s dream to have such a positive impact on her child. But it is not an easy job. Without proper focus, motherhood can become tedious, boring and repetitive, and can bring additional stress for mothers who work outside the home, whether due to having chosen a career or because of financial circumstances.
The view of mothers has drastically changed since the 1700s. Up to the early 19th century, society expected women to exemplify virtues in every sense. While men went to work, a woman’s domain was her home; she created a “heaven on Earth” for her children and husband. Most women cherished their stewardship as homemakers and educators of the next generation.
Bronislaw Malinowski, a pioneer anthropologist, stated that “the nuclear family had to be universal because it filled a basic biological need—caring for and protecting infants and young children.”
“No culture could survive,” he asserted, “unless the birth of children was linked to both mother and father in legally based parenthood.”
Though this is an ideal lifestyle, in 21st-century society, it is ridiculed. Mothers are construed as old-fashioned, out-of-date, and certainly not “cool.”
What caused Washington to write, “All I am I owe to my mother”?
This small statement presents a wonderful challenge for mothers, as this unique role has a principle influence on children’s lives: The mother bears them, nurtures them; their primary education begins with her. Essentially, mothers are the positive force that shapes every new generation.
Developing a Bond
“All I am” includes both personality and character. This challenge is set before mothers who want to instill in their children all that they will become.
Developing the whole child begins in the womb. As a fetus develops and grows into a baby, a mother considers how she cares for herself. She knows that her health and wellbeing will have either a positive or negative effect on the yet unborn human being. She carefully investigates and comes to understand what effect smoking, alcohol and illicit drugs would have on her child. She considers the stress placed on her if she is a working mother. She is thoughtful of the type of environment in which she lives.
What is her home life like? Her relationship with her husband is of paramount importance because a loving, caring marital relationship encourages a stress-free home. This attitude of love and concern for the future child continues during the months of pregnancy. Mother and baby begin to bond; perhaps she sings or talks to her baby while performing her daily chores. The child is comforted and recognizes his mother’s voice. This is the primitive beginnings of its personality.
The environment in which a child grows up is important. In today’s society, many children live in single-parent households. While many mothers have to work outside the home, most children are left at daycare centers. This robs the child of important bonding time in his or her formative years.
“All My Success in Life”
There is a saying about true motherhood: “Real mothers know that a child’s growth is not measured by height or years or grade—it is marked by the progression of Mommy, to Mom, to Mother.”
The progression mentioned here is a sign of respect, as the child learns to respond to and appreciate a mother’s teaching and correction.
To enable children to grow up and be successful, certain principles of conduct must be taught. The first great gift a mother gives her child is her love. That love is expressed in the enduring amount of energy and time she spends teaching and nurturing her children as they grow.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the widow of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, wrote, “By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class.”
Why is this?
Put simply, a true mother is too busy teaching the principles that lead to a successful life, such as proper hygiene, eating and sleeping habits, manners, and appropriate behavior such as practicing honesty, telling the truth, and maintaining self-control. She teaches her children virtue and industry.
Being a mother is a wonderful profession. The primary parent who molds future generations, she begins the process of instilling right information—right principles of living—in her children. She guides them away from being fearful, idle or deceptive. As they grow toward adulthood, she teaches them about moderation, steering them away from the pitfalls of drunkenness and illicit drugs.
A true mother looks ahead and foresees the need to fulfill her children’s intellectual requirements and their schooling. She encourages their pursuit of true religion, teaching them from the Word of God, the Bible. Her goal is to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
President Washington said, “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw.”
What he saw was not the beauty of her clothes, the way she brushed her hair, or other physical attributes. The beauty he saw was in her eyes, the doorway to her heart—her inner being. He saw the true beauty of a mother who lovingly cared for him and gave herself in selfless service.
What about you? To learn more about motherhood and its vital role in rearing children, read our book Train Your Children God’s Way.
What will your children see in you? Will it be the inner beauty of a loving, caring mother? Will that beauty affect them so much that they will someday be able to attribute all their success in life to you?