Starting life with a good mother is better than being born into money. Not everyone begins life with this advantage. Those who do should treasure it because a good mother saves a child from many struggles.
Oliver Wendell Holmes wisely wrote that “our mothers carry the key of our souls in their bosom.”
Perhaps because my mother turned 87, on Christmas Day or simply because it’s long overdue, I’ve been reflecting on Mom’s influence in my life. These have come to mind:
Mom led our family’s parade to church. Young, new to the community and unable to drive, Mom walked her children to the nearest church. This church wasn’t her first choice. She grew up in a family of quiet worshipers, people who felt uneasy when anyone said ‘praise the Lord’ out loud. This church was known for its exuberance. At 14 I had a personal encounter with Jesus in that humble little church. Other family members followed Mom there. She didn’t use words to entice them; she led by example.
Get along and get together – that’s Mom’s philosophy for family harmony. I’ve heard her express thanks that no rifts exist between her and her five children. She grew up in a closely-knit five-sibling family. As adults they visited each other’s homes often, talked on the telephone often, and in their senior years, travelled together. Love and peace between siblings is a godly goal. Mom’s influence in this area is profound. Even her grandchildren pursue her ‘get-along with your kin’ philosophy.
Books. In one of my earliest memories, my mother sits on the end of our bed reading Little Red Riding Hood to my sister, Carolyn, and me. Today, she teases me about filling my house and cottage with books but she’s to blame for my life-long love affair with reading.
I have no statistics to back it up but I believe readers enjoy a greater sense of fulfillment than non-readers. Readers discover; readers relax. Great stories carry them to foreign lands, mysterious times, intriguing plots and unforgettable characters. Their imaginations soar. When I visit my children’s homes and see bookcases lining their walls, a book turned over on a night table, newspapers and magazines littered here and there, I feel a sense of accomplishment. My children are readers – three pats on the back for me. The other day, Matilda, my little granddaughter, picked up her favorite thick-paged book from a pile, handed it to me, then turned her back, a signal to lift her onto my knee and read. My pleasure. It all began with a reading mother.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (Psalm 103:2).
Mom hung this framed verse on the wall beside our dinner table.
Mom forms opinions and expresses them. She can converse with anyone about the latest global or local event. She knows what’s happening on the country’s political scene and likes to discuss her viewpoint. Forming opinions helps to keep the little gray cells functioning and it makes for lively discussion around our family dinner tables.
A good neighbour. Decades ago, a feuding older couple next door to our family home separated. He moved into an upscale shed at the back of his property; she remained in the house. Our sympathies lie with the shed-dweller. At Christmas and other special occasions, Mom delivered meals to him. Many older relatives and ailing neighbours also benefited from her generosity. From her we learned to keep aware of the needs around us, especially the ones right under our noses.
According to author, Kathryn Lindskoog, a child who learns English from the crib is born with the equivalent of $500,000 in the bank. It can’t be an exaggeration to say that a child with a good mother has the benefit of at least twice that amount in her life account.
If that’s the case I was born a millionaire.
Note: I wrote this piece about a year ago and passed it by my on-line critique group. One woman hated it. She didn’t have a good mother and she thought it was out of line for me to brag about mine. Her view kept me from publishing this because I didn’t want to make others like her feel bad. But, if all writers followed this logic, nothing praiseworthy would be said about anybody.
My book, One Good Word Makes All the Difference is available here.
From my short but life-changing stay in Newfoundland to my life as a prodigal; from my connections with the places I’ve lived to the many ways God has guided, and continues to guide me; from the man who married me to my father who discovered God through the fog of Alzheimer’s; these and many more are the stories God has written in my life.
A good word at the right time, whether spoken or written, gives hope to the discouraged and comfort to the broken-hearted. Good words inspire us to follow in the footsteps of God and give us courage to remain faithful to Him. They heal our wounds and warm our souls. Long after we’ve forgotten the source of encouraging words, their influence remains because good words make themselves at home in our hearts for a lifetime