TITLE: From a Mother's Knee
By William Baldwin
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Some of us still remember the days when daily wisdom was gleaned from our mother. This was when ladies viewed motherhood as the ultimate career. Granted, women did not have the choices they have today, and the economy did not force them to work. But neither did they feel cheated to stay home with the kids. Indeed, mothers changed their world by teaching their children "the way they should go." The home was a classroom, and mom was the teacher.
No doubt, some lessons were "old wives' tales". For example, I still wonder if anyone checks the underwear of people involved in car accidents. When I was 16 years old, I was in a serious car accident. they examined the knot on my head, but no one inspected my underwear. Even so, my mom taught me that this was one of the primary reasons for wearing clean under-shorts everyday.
When I first became a father, mom taught me a great lesson: "Don't hold your children upside down because it will cause their liver to turn over and kill them!" I made it a point to obey this when my kids were small. (Now, you do not believe that ...do you?)
In spite of the fables, times past has taught us that many of the truly great people of history learned "greatness" from their mother, or another woman who was a "mother-figure" to them.
In the Old Testament a king admitted that he obtained his wisdom to run a nation from his mother. "These are the wise sayings of King Lemuel of Massa, taught to him at his mother's knee" (Prov. 31:1).
In the Proverb, the king records that his mother taught him six lessons: (1) You were dedicated to the Lord - live accordingly; (2) Do not become sexually active with anyone but your wife; (3) Do not become addicted to strong drink--it impairs good judgment; (4) Help the helpless; (5) See that the helpless gets justice; (6) Marry a virtuous woman (see Proverbs 31). With these lessons, the king ruled a nation.
Consider Winston Churchill. Born of an aristocratic family in England, he was a trouble child. His family thought he was retarded, so his parents hired a nanny to care for him. Little Winston rarely saw his mother or father, so his nanny, "Wommany," he called her, raised him.
In spite of young Churchill's struggles, Wommany saw his potential. A Christian, she prayed over him, believing his unbridled energy was the key to his greatness. Today, we would have medicated him and placed him in a special class with the "slow" kids.
Though he had early challenges, Churchill became Great Britain's Prime Minister, and the basic lessons he used to lead the nation through World War II were learned from his "nanny-mother's" knee. Wommany instilled lessons of greatness in Churchill, and indirectly, she saved a nation.
This post-modern age fails to recognize the powerful influence of motherhood. The Twenty-first Century worldview often devalues motherhood past childbirth and the diaper stage. In contrast, history confirms that mothers and mother-figures taught the truly great leaders how to be great.
Billy Graham is recognized as one of the greatest leaders in modern era. He has preached the Christian gospel to millions of people, and millions have been converted through his influence. However, while Billy traveled the world preaching, his wife, Ruth, stayed home, teaching their children. By her own admission, when she was young, she wanted to be a missionary to China. She postponed her desire to teach the Chinese, and stayed home to teach their children.
In a recent television interview, their son, Franklin, and daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, admitted, "We love our Daddy. We recognize that God called him to be an evangelist to the world. But it was our Mamma who taught us the lessons of life."
Though they struggled growing up, the Graham children are, now, leaders. Franklin and Anne lead Christian organizations that influence the world. By their own admission, they became great leaders by the "wise sayings" they learned from their mother.
Someone has said, "Our nation is in a leadership crisis." I agree. However, leaders, most often, learn to be leaders (or that they can be leaders) from a most unlikely source - mothers.
Truly great leaders learn the "wise sayings" from mothers. From these, they lead nations, cities, schools, corporations, churches, and families. The fruit of motherhood is often reaped later through the greatness of their children.
Read the biographies of great leaders and it is likely that many of them lived without a father's influence. But almost all of them lived their lives from the overflow of "wise sayings" they learned from a mother's knee.
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