One of God’s most amazing creations is the role of a mother. A mother’s influence helps shape her children and has a profound impact on their future.
In the spring on our farm, we’d usually find one or two mother hens leading their babies around, scratching in the grass for bugs and teaching them how to find their daily meals.
One warm day, as I stood in the shade of an old red oak tree watching a young hen with her dozen or so small chicks, the peaceful scene was suddenly disrupted by the headlong dive of a red-tailed hawk, snatching one of her fuzzy chicks. As the hawk rose into the air clutching the little one in its talons, the mother hen also went airborne, striking the hawk from behind and forcing it to drop the chick as it flew away.
This attack by a mother hen to save one of her babies reminds me of the protective and loving nature most all mothers have for their offspring.
Jesus Christ used such an example to express His desire to love and protect the people of Jerusalem:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34).
The mother of all living
After God had made the plants and animals, He made Adam. But He informed Adam that he was incomplete. He needed a companion. That companion, who was to be the mother of all human life (Genesis 3:20), was not made from the dust like Adam, but from the very flesh and bone of the first man.
In doing so, God illustrated what an important role women, wives and mothers are to play in the fulfillment of His plan for humankind.
The mother of my children gave me balance
My wife and I were blessed with four wonderful children—a son and three daughters. As a man and a father, I found my wife often helped me see things from a different perspective.
I owe what balance I have to the counsel and example of the mother of my children, and I sorely miss her.
God created and highly values the role of mother. Eight times the Bible repeats the command to honor your mother.There is no love among humans that can match or exceed that of the unconditional love of a mother. When our daughters were married and began to have their babies, my wife would always travel to be with them for the first week or two. It was just natural for her to fulfill the exhortation Paul wrote Titus (Titus 2:3-4).
One afternoon we got a call from one of our daughters more than a thousand miles away who had been struck with a major crisis in her life. Without hesitation, my wife said, “We’ve got to go.” In less than 24 hours we had purchased tickets and were on the plane headed out to be with her.
A mother provides security
Certainly, a father is to be protector and provider for his family, but in a child’s early years, it is the mother who first fills that role.
I was talking to a young couple recently who had just a few weeks earlier become parents of a little baby girl. The mother was holding a basket with her eight-week-old baby as we talked. During the whole conversation, that little one’s eyes were focused on her. How trustingly she looked to her mother for all her needs!
No one has more influence on the psychological development of a child in the first years of life than the mother. She is the baby’s security, comforter, nurturer and provider. A father can also be these—and certainly can support the mother in her role—but sometimes it is only later that children see the role the father also plays in all of this—that it is a team effort. (I was touched when one of my daughters recently said that I made her feel safe as she went through her teen years.)
A mother is a role model and teacher
It was heartwarming to me and comforting to our children when my wife rocked each of our babies, singing softly to them, in the months following their birth.
This was followed very shortly by her reading to them from some of the children’s books we kept on hand. This helped them to become avid readers themselves, and they have passed that love of reading and learning on to their children.
A mother’s role as a teacher in the family is frequently mentioned in the Bible.
- Timothy became a faithful teacher of the Word of God, and much of that is attributed to his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5).
- Mary, a woman of character, was chosen to be the mother of the Messiah (Matthew 1:16).
- In the wisdom book of Proverbs, the importance of a mother’s teaching is extolled. “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother” (Proverbs 1:8).
Proverbs speaks often of the role of a mother as a teacher in the family. One of the primary themes of this book is the seeking of wisdom. Early chapters personify wisdom as a woman.
“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her” (Proverbs 3:13-18).
A wise mother brings many of the same things into the family and lives of her children.
Many other verses in this book declare the importance of the mother sharing in the role of teaching the children.
The continuing importance of mothers
A godly mother teaches her daughters how to be wives and mothers. She sets an example of supporting her husband, their father. By her words and example she also teaches her sons how to treat all women with love and respect, not as sex objects.
The unconditional love and nurturing in those first years and afterward have such a powerful impact on her children’s character and personality. I would not want to see what this world would be like if there were only men!
God created and highly values the role of mother. Eight times the Bible repeats the command to honor your mother.
And God Himself said, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13). What could be more important than that?
For more on the importance of mothers, see our blog post “A World Without Mothers.”