The discussion was pursued at a leadership conference a few years ago about who are the most influential of the world’s leaders. Having ample opportunity for thoroughly considering what constitutes true leadership, the group unanimously decided that mothers are the most influential of leaders in the world with fathers following at a close second.
The truth of this realization has occurred to me on many occasions as I become ever more convinced that the fate of tomorrow’s generation has been entrusted to the mothers of today. Officials in our governments, judges in their chambers, and CEOs of major corporations make decisions for good or for bad daily affecting everyone in a society. But who tempered the convictions that guide these power players in the first place? Who was it that taught them right from wrong? Who had the greatest potential for implanting within these people their sense of moral responsibility and justice?
In some cases such investments were done well and the careful nurturing of a wise mother has moved beyond the simple planting of righteousness and has come to the point of bearing fruit. There are some leaders who do lead with hearts full of integrity.
If one observes a leader who is both fair and compassionate, merciful yet just, responsible while also humble of heart, making a positive impact on the world around him or her, it is almost certain that he or she has had the influence of a Godly mother in his or her life.
Where in fact is the mettle of conviction forged? Where is a sense of justice and fairness molded? Where does one’s sense of right and wrong get rooted though we see not its fruit until its ripening and the time for harvest has come?
It is in the home. It is in the cradle. It is in the arms of a mother that a person’s nature is first shaped and largely established. Delivered first through this one called “mother” are those things that mold the personality and perspective of the men and women children become. It is the mother’s hand which lays those stones that will build either a worldview that moves one onward and upward or leaves him wallowing in defeat.
When our oldest son was still a baby, there were times when he needed his mother… not because he was hungry; not because he was cold; not for any reason other than he simply needed to hear her voice and feel her touch. A sweet elderly lady who lived next door, upon observing the calming effect of my wife’s presence upon our boy, softly reflected, “There is no place like mama’s arms, is there?” I could only agree as I watched his tears dry and heard his crying fade into the sounds of peaceful contentment.
We learn first about love and warmth, acceptance and belonging from Godly mothers. Fathers may have the unique calling and role of radically shaping a child’s perspective of God (another subject for another time), but a person’s sense of value and belonging, of safety and acceptance begin with his or her mother.
This is not to say that other things do not have the power to challenge that foundation. They do. How anguished is a mother’s sorrow when she has done “all the right things” only to watch her child wander into a wilderness of confusion or a pit of destruction! Nevertheless, it is a lot easier to want to do what is right or persevere in hard times with steadfast character when one knows that there is SOMEONE who is rooting for him and believes in him no matter what the world thinks or does! There is no doubt that mothers have the power to lay a foundation of encouragement and acceptance for their children’s ultimate victories or to set their feet on a path of misery and woe through neglect or abuse.
We may rejoice then when we have been given the blessing of a godly mother! If you have, then be careful to not take such a blessing for granted! God has granted you a precious treasure, the worth of which is “far more than rubies” (Proverbs 31:10b). Thank Him for that treasure and honor your Godly mother!
Also, we may grieve when, for one reason or another, we are deprived of such a blessing. Losing a mother is painful even for an adult, but it is an anguish to see a young child lose his or her mother to death.
Even more tragic is the loss of a mother to the world when she is swallowed up in busy-ness… or worse, abandons her child in order to pursue selfish interests. I have seen entirely too many examples of this and my heart breaks over the devastation that such neglect and abuse has caused in the lives of their children.
But it does not have to be this way. If such a tragedy has been the story of your life, then turn from the hurt and loss that you have experienced in having an abusive or neglectful mother. Turn instead to the unconditional love that God offers you. Let Him break the cycle that threatens to entrap you and your own children in the ruts of anger and bitterness. Let God’s love through Jesus Christ heal you and set your feet on a better path. Let Him make you what you really were created to be with all of His blessings accessible to you and your own family.
Yet, the fact remains that mothers have unparalleled opportunity to influence lives in matters of faith, godliness, love and hope. If you are a mother (or are about to be) then God has invited you to partner with Him in the building of a soul.
So let us pray that we will see a renewal in our roles as parents. Let us recommit ourselves to shaping the future when we give ourselves to the Godly shaping of little hearts and minds. Mothers, you influence the world when you influence the lives of your children. God offers you an opportunity to be His means of challenging fear, hatred, and injustice in the world. One day soon our children will receive the mantle of leadership for our communities, our towns, our nation, and our world. While there will be problems (of that, we can be sure) how those problems are handled and whether or not our children will be slave or free to them is being decided right now.
When those days dawn, O mothers, may your “children arise and call (you) blessed” (Proverbs 31:28a) for you have loved them, you have accepted them unconditionally, you have prayed for them, and you have helped to prepare them to take hold of their destinies.