The influence of a mother, stay-at-home or not
April 19, 2005
Every once in a while, I hear a mother say, “I’m just a stay-at-home Mom”.
Many times, I have heard that as an almost apologetic introduction. Well, not to me! I think she should be more accurate and say, “I’m the shaper of empires. I am the developer of world leaders. I am at home molding the lives and character of the next generation of our country’s justices and statesmen. I am encouraging and developing the curiosity and analytical genius needed for a researcher who is going to conquer the enemy of cancer.”
That is the power of a Mother’s influence!
Consider what the mothers of the following world leaders did in the lives of their children:
• Nero’s mother was a murderess. No wonder that Nero turned out the way he did.
• John Wesley (1703-1791) and Charles Wesley (1707-1788) were giants in Christian history. Their ministry brought England back to Jesus and kept the English revolution from being a blood-bath like the French Revolution. Susannah Wesley, their mother, had 19 children to care for and teach. She devoted several hours alone with each child every week alternately, reading, talking and praying with them. It has been said, “The Methodist Church began at Susannah Wesley’s knee … .” When these sons set across the ocean to Georgia as missionaries to the settlers and the Indians of the district, she said, “Had I 20 sons, I should rejoice that they are so well employed, though I should never see them again.”
• George Washington’s (1732-1799) mother, Mary, was left a widow with five children to educate and direct when George was only 11 years old. A French general, upon leaving the presence of Mary, paid her this beautiful compliment: “It is not surprising that America should produce great men, since she can produce great mothers.”
• James Madison (1751-1836) was left fatherless when only a small boy and his upbringing fell entirely to his mother.
• Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), military hero and seventh president, wrote: “The memory of my mother and her teachings were the only capital I had to start life with; and on that capital I have made my way.”
• John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) – although highly educated at an early age, touchingly said: “My mother was a minister of blessing to all human beings within her sphere of action. Her heart was the abode of heavenly purity. She had no feeling but of kindness and beneficence, yet her mind was as firm as her temper was mild and gentle.” John Quincy Adams became the U.S. Ambassador to France when only 14 years old. His was the preeminent voice in Congress for over two decades for the abolishment of slavery in this country.
• Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was a sage when he said: “Let France have good mothers, and she will have good sons.”
• Abraham Lincoln’s (1809-1865) mother was a godly Christian who, every Sunday, set Abe on her knee and read to him the Word of God. Her special concentration for her son was the knowledge of the Ten Commandments. Nancy Lincoln died in 1818, when Abe was only nine years of age, but the law of God had been inscribed in his heart. Her last words were: “Abe, I’m going to leave you now, and I shall not return. I want you to be kind to your father and live as I have taught you. Love your heavenly Father and keep His commandments.”
When asked later in life why he was so honest, he said that he could still clearly hear the tones of his mother’s voice as she spoke to him from Exodus 20 and read of the Lord God who gave His commandments. Lincoln declared, “All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
• Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910), author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” when 91, said, “We talk of forty horsepower. If we had forty mother-power it would be the most wonderful force in the world.”
• Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893), Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) and John Tyler (1790-1862) in their boyhood days depended upon their widowed mothers for their training.
• James Garfield’s (1831-1881) mother was left to fight the battle of life alone when James was but two years old. A lifelong intimacy and tenderness existed between the two. On the day of his inauguration as president, the first thing he did after the oath of office was administered was to kiss his mother saying, “Mother, you have brought me to this.”
• Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), called “The Prince of Preachers” and perhaps the most read and quoted preacher ever to have lived, paid this tribute to his beloved mother: “I cannot tell how much I owe to the solemn words and prayers of my Christian mother. It was a custom while we were children to sit around the table and read the Scripture verse by verse while Mother explained it to us. After that was done, then came the time of pleading with God.
“Some of the words of our mother’s prayers we shall never forget, even when our heads are gray. I remember her once praying thus: ‘Now, Lord if my children go on in sin, it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear a swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay not hold of Jesus Christ.’”
• Theodore Roosevelt’s (1858-1919) mother never missed an opportunity of instilling into young Theodore’s mind her pride in a race of men not afraid to fight for whatever they believed right. These words uttered by Roosevelt will long be remembered: “The woman’s task is never easy – no task worth doing is easy – but in doing it, and when she has done it, there shall come to her the highest and holiest joy known to mankind; and having done it, she shall have the reward prophesied in Scripture; for her husband and her children, yes, and all people who realize that her work lies at the very foundation of all national happiness and greatness, shall rise up and call her blessed.”
• G. Campbell Morgan (1864-1945) is known as one of history’s great Bible expositors. There were four preachers in the Morgan family. At a family reunion a friend asked, “Which Morgan is the greatest preacher?” One son looked at this father and then promptly replied, “Mother.”
• William Lyons Phelps (1865 – ??) was an English literature professor at Yale University for 41 years. He wrote the book: Human Nature and the Bible. He loved God with all his heart and he loved the Bible. He risked his position at Yale by making his beliefs clear and he declared the Bible to be the divinely inspired Word of God. At age five he read through the entire Bible because his mother offered him a dollar if he would do so. He said, “Being forced to go to church does not cause a young person to be rebellious.”
A scripture verse that I have often shared with my own children is III John 4: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
I believe children will be more apt to walk in truth if they see mom and dad walking in truth at home. Work with them, mold them, love them and teach them. And when you are convicted of wrong, confess it to them. The work in the classroom of the home is manifested in the living laboratory of life.
Yes, I know that I am a bit early to be talking about Mother’s Day, but due to printing schedules for The Pathway and when Mother’s Day actually falls, I am writing this note to you early so you have time to prepare YOUR Mother’s Day gift for May 8 and honor your mom.
How do you propose to honor your mother? I would suggest that a personal handwritten letter from you to her would be even more valuable than flowers or dinner. However, let me suggest that you give your letter to her at dinner where she is wearing her corsage.