“Don’t touch that! I’m not buying candy for you. I’m not kidding, don’t make me count… One… Two… Don’t make me get to three. You seriously don’t want me to get to three!” cried the mother of the two-year-old in the checkout line, her voice rising an octave higher with each threat.
Does this scenario sound familiar? We have all heard that mother. And maybe you have also been that mother? Have you found yourself embarrassed by the judgmental stares of onlookers as you coaxed or, through clenched teeth, pleaded with your child to comply? Then to prevent further public humiliation, have you given in to your toddler’s demands?
Before I was a mother, I arrogantly passed judgment upon moms who seemed unable to control their children. I remember thinking, if I were that child’s mother, I wouldn’t allow such disobedient behavior.
Fantasizing about what kind of mother I would be, I imagined how I would calmly make a request, and my children would respectfully comply. But it had never occurred to me how I would teach my children to respect me. I just assumed I would figure out my parenting skills as I went along. Talk about naive!
After I had my first child, I became humbly aware of how unprepared I was to be a mother. Intimidated by this new role of motherhood, I asked the Lord to send a godly mentor who could help guide me through this daunting responsibility.
Shortly after I prayed, the Lord brought my friend Molly, and her husband Vaughn, into our lives. One afternoon Vaughn and Molly, along with their three young children, joined us for lunch at my in-laws’ house.
While my husband visited with Vaughn, his four-year-old son, Adam, reached up to touch a valuable figurine that was displayed on a shelf. Discerning Adam’s intent, Vaughn calmly said, “Adam, please don’t touch that.”
Then, without skipping a beat, Vaughn resumed talking with my husband. Adam carefully pulled his hand back and stood looking at the figurine without touching it.
My husband, Steve, and I were in awe. Vaughn had not raised his voice. He did not hover over his son to make sure he would not touch the figurine. He fully expected Adam to respond in obedience. And he did!
Steve said, “How’d you do that? How’d you get him to obey like that? Without raising your voice, or making any threats?”
Vaughn responded, “We trained him not to touch things without permission.”
That day, we asked Vaughn and Molly to mentor us as parents. As my husband and I spent time with our mentors, what intrigued us most was how much they delighted in their children. Everyone in their family genuinely loved and enjoyed each other’s company. Vaughn and Molly had somehow instilled within their kids a loving respect for their parents, their siblings, and for God. Their godly example established our trust in their parental instruction.*
Do you have a godly mentor to help you become the mom you had hoped you would be? Do you know that God reveals his apprenticeship plan for moms in Titus 2:3-4 where the Apostle Paul says:
[Older Women] are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children.
If you do not have a godly role model in your life, it’s time that you get serious about finding one. Begin, like I did as a young mom, by praying for God to bring to you an older, godly, women who will teach you from the Bible, and her own life experiences how to love your kids enough to help them learn to be the kind, loving, respectful people you had dreamed they would be.
*Excerpt: Moms Raising Sons to Be Men -a personal mentor for women who are raising the next generation of godly men.