I want to introduce you to my wife Sarah. As I was writing, “A Father’s Promise“, I asked Sarah if she was interested in putting together a mom’s version. So, without further ado, I will allow my amazing, beautiful, gifted, and talented wife to present he brief reflection on motherhood. Thanks in advance for reading.
A Mother’s Promises
- I promise to teach you how to pray. Since your dad has the biblical studies degree and has the Bible reading thing covered, I’m going to focus specifically on prayer. Not everything in life makes sense. Prayer is how you know God and what God wants you to do. I know at some point in your life you will be nudged to do something completely crazy that does not make sense logically, and everyone will probably think you have lost it. (It might be so crazy even I might even attempt to dissuade you.) God is not limited by culture, logic, or what the majority believes to be right, and instead sets new precedents all the time. Remember that Joseph should have divorced Mary, but, he defied logic and culture to follow the plans God had for him. If you know God is asking you to do something, then follow through and don’t look back. Prayer is not a list of things you want; it is talking to God about how great He is and reviewing every blessing in your life. There is always something to be thankful for, even if it’s just having food on the table. You can ask God for things, but those things will probably naturally flow toward the end of your prayers. Prayer is not limited to “traditional” prayer. Prayer is action, silence, thoughts, and anything that connects you relationally to God.
- I promise to model contentment. Material items are not the most important things in life. Toys, clothes, and electronics break, get lost, and lose value. You can go through life without needing 20 pairs of shoes. There’s always pressure to buy things, but I will teach you to be an informed consumer and buy products with clean supply chains (Fair Trade) whenever possible. Being content is directly related to being less selfish and more patient. There are times I will make you spend your allowance on items instead of buying them for you; I am teaching you about delayed gratification and how to make good decisions with your future in mind. I want you to be successful in life, and we will work toward independent financial management one step at a time so that you will be successful in managing your finances by the time you are about 18 and ready to move out. I want you to be excited about opening your first checking account and not worried that impulse purchases will prevent you from paying rent. I promise to be open and honest about how your dad and I manage money so that you can see a healthy system before you are on your own. Financial management will not be a crash course the summer after you graduate from high school, it will involve age appropriate transparent case studies based on real life spending, giving, and saving.
- I promise to give you a good education and sacrifice when needed so that you can learn. I realize we are a nerdy family. I am so proud when I see you reading and comprehending material beyond your level. I know you see me working hard in grad school staying up late and sacrificing fun events so I can study and write papers. I am actually very happy to be going to school while you are young because I know that it is healthy for you to see what college will be like for you. It’s hard, exhausting, and stressful, but it can be done. One day when you are ready, we will look at colleges and support you in getting a degree just as you and your dad are supporting me now.
- I promise to empower you by using your voice. A few months ago, you gave me your first eye rolling, “whatever mom!” It was awesome! The equivalent of your first step. This particular “whatever mom” was not disrespectful or inappropriate. It was the first time you decided that I am not a perfect human being and you are distancing yourself in order to become your own person. I’m excited for you! I want you to question me, your teachers, church leaders, political leaders, authors, etc. I want you to be an outlier. What I mean by that is you do not automatically and mindlessly follow the crowd. You do not drink the Kool-Aid. I want you to question and think about implications before following the crowd or going your own direction. When the crowd is doing something wrong or questionable, you speak up. You use your voice to help others. I want you to be respectful and appropriate, but I promise not to get mad when you question me or challenge my behavior, because I mess up all the time. I want you to watch your dad. He is even more comfortable than I am about challenging the status quo. Your dad and I have both challenged the foundational beliefs we grew up with, and it is not easy, but it is necessary. Above all, do not give into peer pressure.
- I promise to help you understand why you should not judge people by modeling positive behaviors. This is a tough one for me. I know I judge. I believe from personal experience the two most judgmental groups of people on the planet are conservative Christians and narrow-minded groups of moms: new moms, breastfeeding moms, natural birth only moms, organic food only moms, stay-at-home moms, etc. You and I will never know where or how another individual has gotten to where they are. Your job is to relate to other people and find common ground. Accept people and do not get hung up on insignificant beliefs and details. Be open-minded; you have absolutely nothing to lose when you consider an opposing viewpoint.
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