That’s right. Read it again. What you do is important.
I know it doesn’t seem important to be answering kids’ questions all day and reading the same books to your children over and over, or patiently responding to mishaps and unexpected spills as you cook and clean and love the little ones, but let me assure you that what you do might be one of the most significant things in the world. Let me explain.
Do you see those policy makers on TV, voting on bills, which will become laws? (Oops – Of course you don’t- you don’t have time to watch TV, but you’re smart and you can recall at least a few modern legislators, state-wide or national figures.). Think of them for a moment. Also think the teachers of today, the professors and other educators who, right this minute, are standing in a classroom, explaining a theory, proposing a philosophy, forming young minds. Recall too the modern doctors and scientists who make life and death decisions and ethical considerations. Think of how they, and others like them, affect and in essence because the way the world turns and moves. They make laws, form opinions, and establish protocol in institutions for good or for naught. They create society.
Now think of this: Someone once put these influential people to sleep at night; someone sang to them (or didn’t), read to them (or didn’t). Someone once stirred thoughts of goodness and justice (or evil and apathy) into their minds. Someone once introduced them to big ideas and learning and if they were lucky, God and faith, morals and truth. That someone most likely was their mother.
Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Men are what their mothers made them.” Of course, free will comes into the picture, but a good mother can set a child on the right track, and it is more difficult for him to veer off onto the wrong path if she has set him straight. “Train the young in the way they should go; even when old, they will not swerve from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Now, mama, look at that baby you just put in the swing, your little angel with sweet downy hair and a sleepy, milky smile or look at your toddler in his diaper who is dancing around the room. Your treatment of these children now and the way they see you interacting with them and others, the manners you use, the tone of your voice, the gestures you make, will be the model in their minds, their ‘default mode’ of thinking and behavior for the rest of their lives. Most likely what you model will affect how they treat others one day – their employees, employers, patients or constituents, and surely their spouses and their children. Their decisions will be rooted in what you provide and teach and demonstrate now.
Mama, your softness is important. Your sweet coos and songs to your children will help them feel loved and calm and know the gentleness of God Himself. Your firmness is important too – you must gently but surely hold your children accountable for their actions and help them overcome natural vices in order to reach the pinnacle of self-control and temperance. Your mind is important to them as well. It is through your thought and your expression of thought they will gain knowledge about the world around them, others, and God. The values you teach them, the stories you read to them, the words they hear you speak an the expressions they see you make are all very important to them and also to the world they will influence in years to come. Most importantly, your faith will be the foundation for their own faith. Your trust and belief in God will pave the way for their own acceptance of and love for Him.
Our nation depends on the work of the mothers in the previous generation. The future of the human race depends on mothers like you.