Pastor Joe Fuiten, May 8, 2005
Having a high regard for motherhood is culturally, politically, and spiritually very important.
It is important culturally because if you have a high regard for motherhood it speaks to the issues of family. We would not be having a debate about same-sex marriage if we hadn’t already diminished motherhood. Only after you strip away the importance of motherhood can you argue that two gay guys living together are as much a family as a man and woman having children.
Having children is important politically because it still counts to have a majority of the votes on your side in politics. A few years ago I ran a calculation comparing the impact of having three kids versus having two. If one group had more children by only one, within just a matter of a few decades, the group with more children would never lose an election.
It is not just numbers. We can study history and see that when the family disintegrates, the culture fails.
I dislike Edward Gibbon for his prejudice against Christianity, I can appreciate some of what he
wrote in his “Decline and Fall of the
In what ways do these things spell the decline of a culture? It is mainly because they remove sexual expression from the family.
Homosexuality is wrong for two reasons.
1. It is wrong because God says it is sin. It falls short of the divine plan.
2. But it is also wrong because it places sexual expression outside the family.
Calling two homosexuals a family no more changes the reality than calling a dog a cat. In either case it is still a dog. There is no such thing as a homosexual marriage. It is just playing with words. It is like saying that all dogs have four legs. Here is an animal that has four legs so it must be a dog. In the same way, marriage is a love relationship between two people. Here are two people who love each other, therefore it must be a marriage.
having children is important because it is one of two things that matter most
about what happens to the world. Whether
a country ends up being Christian is almost completely based upon who has the most
children and who wins the wars.
Muslims have the highest birthrate in the world and have a longer
history of winning wars, although not so much in recent decades. The ten fastest growing countries are all
Moslem. The ultimate outcome of
If motherhood does matter, then what matters in motherhood? Having raised four kids ourselves, and with our eighth grandchild to be born this week, I have some perspective on what is important in motherhood. You never have the opportunity to start over in parenthood. By the time you are experienced, you are unemployed, but you get a little bit of a second chance with grandkids.
There are four things I have come to believe about motherhood. First, be important in the life of your kids. As a mother, you love them more than anybody and you know them better than anybody. As a result, you are in the best position to be important in their lives. Do it. Pastors are good. Teachers are good. There may be other adults who are good but they are no substitute for their mother. Trust your own instincts and concerns. You are more likely to act in the best interests of that child than anyone else on the planet.
Second, teach them to do things. Self-esteem comes from being able to do things. As a mother, your inclination is to want to do for them. If you are busy, it takes less time to do it than it does to teach them. However, the goal is to raise a child not get a job done. If they can do for themselves, it will be much better than if you can do for them. I was teaching Grant how to trick the pass-defenders in football. I was the QB and Grant was the end. He picked it up very quickly. Kids in his age group are supposed to be very concrete but he understood trickery.
Third, teach them that they are not the center of the universe. When a baby is born, it really seems like they are the center of the universe. As a mother you make every effort to provide everything possible for this little child. As parents we find a lot of fulfillment in doing for our kids. However, we might be building failure into their lives.
In a marriage, selfishness destroys. But if we teach a child that other people are there to serve them, what is that doing for their future marriage? “His mother waited on him hand and foot and he got married and expected me to do the same.” I’ve heard that too many times.
Think what it does to their future relationship with God. What is the chief end of man? Isn’t it to know God and to enjoy him forever? If the child thinks the world revolves around them, that prejudices their future relationship with God. When you teach a child to care about others you are preparing them to know God. Acts of service in behalf of other people while they are young prepares them for marriage, business, and eternity. In short, becoming other centered makes them useful in life.
Fourth, teach them to keep after it. Become a growing person yourself. Keeping after it means you keep growing particularly through the failures and falling short that happens a lot in life. You may lose today, but if you stay with it, maybe you can win tomorrow. When I was a debater in school, I always liked to come up against the best teams early in the year. They might beat you but you could study their arguments and style and thereby prepare yourself to meet them again. If you can learn from your defeats you will get stronger every day. Finishing well is much better than just starting well.
Even when you give parenting your best shot, you can’t really predict how it will all turn out. God help the parent that has only one child. If they turn out bad, you will think it was all your fault. If they turn out good, you will think you did that too. When you have several kids you eventually realize they are all different and how they turn out has a lot to do with them as well.
Even if you aren’t the best mother in the world, at least you are giving that child the chance to exist. You gave life and that means you gave opportunity.
My parents like to tell the story of their first three children, born one right after the other like stair-steps. They had enne, menne, and minee, and didn’t want no mo’. Well, that was their plan. But in the providence of God, and the result of inadequate planning, I was born. There is not much self-assurance in knowing you are an accident. I prefer to think of it as being unstoppable.
Do you remember the child-hood game of drop the handkerchief? The one who was “it” would go around the circle and drop the handkerchief behind someone who would pick it up and run around the circle. Well, first my brother got to run, then my sister, and finally my other sister. After that, month after month, year after year, they walked around and around. Eventually, being very tired, they stuffed the handkerchief into their pocket. But while they weren’t looking, it fell out and landed near me. I quickly grabbed it before they knew they dropped it and started to run. For nine months, it was hard to stretch out my legs and lungs, but after that it got a lot easier. Now I love running. Linda and I dropped the handkerchief a few times ourselves, now we’ve got four that are running.
In every case, life is the chance to run.
I have the wonderful joy of knowing three generations of mothers. My own mother who looked back and was glad that she let me run. I’ve been proud of my mother. She has been a wonderful Christian woman all her life. She has served the Lord, her husband, and her family all these years. I honor her today.
I’m proud of Linda. She has been a great mother. She was nosy and concerned. She hovered around her children like a mother hen and she has raised four great kids. We’re proud of all four of them.
I’m proud of our two daughters, and their husbands, who now have children of their own. They married great, hard-working, godly guys. The girls really work hard themselves. They are proving to be good mothers as well.