– Ross Belle Balatbat
Selfishness is increasing; the secular world nurtures the “I, me and myself” mentality. And so, it is good to reflect upon what the Holy Father has said: “Mothers are the strongest antidote to the spread of self-centered individualism… It is they who testify to the beauty of life” (Amoris laetitia 174).
Every person is led to a vocation and motherhood is a vocation that the Lord has given to many women. The Bible never states that every woman should be a mother. However, it does say how one can be a good mother if she is one; that those whom the Lord blesses to be mothers should take the responsibility earnestly.
A Christian mother is told to love her children (Titus 2:4-5 – in this passage the Greek word philoteknos represents a special kind of “motherly love”). The love, the care, the nurture, and the encouragement a mother gives should never cease. But she needs to adapt the approach depending on the personality of each child. Just as a mother bears a child during pregnancy, rears it, feeds it and cares for it during infancy, in early and late childhood, so mothers also play an ongoing role in the lives of their children, whether they be adolescents, teenagers, young adults, or even adults with children of their own.
Children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5). Mothers are entrusted with another life and this is a unique but crucial role. When mothers give their their all to their children, they are like a “walking Bible.”
Modeling with integrity. A mother “walks her talk” – living what she says, being a model from which a child can learn by showing what it means to live as a Christian (Deuteronomy 4:9, 15, 23; Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; Psalm 37:18, 37).
Round the clock service. Anytime a child calls upon the mother she is always available – morning, noon, and night (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). She serves all day, all night, even without the family recognizing it.
Teaching. She is the first teacher of the child in all aspects so as to bring out the best in each child, helping them to look at life from the correct perspective (Psalm 78:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:10; Ephesians 6:4).
Nurturing in love. A mother provides an environment of constant support, allowance for failure, acceptance, affection, unconditional love (Titus 2:4; 2 Timothy 1:7; Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:1-2; Galatians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:8-9).
Empathy. A mother takes part in the life of her children, be it in interacting, discussing, thinking together (Ephesians 6:4). She also gets involved through silence.
Rears with Discipline. A mother helps shape her child’s character to the pattern of Jesus. She believes that discipline is part of child-rearing, that the child must grow with self-control and reverence of the Lord, drawing the line consistently, lovingly, firmly (Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:5-11; Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15-17).
Skills Training. A responsible mother does not feed everything to her child, instead she has to be helping a child to develop skills and discover his/her strengths (Proverbs 22:6) and spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12). She trains him or her not only to eat fish, but how to catch the fish. Not only how to drink, but to fetch water for drinking.
In conclusion, as Pope Francis said, “a society without mothers would be dehumanized, for mothers are always, even in the worst of times, witnesses to tenderness, dedication and moral strength. Dear mothers,” he says, “thank you! Thank you for what you are in your family and for what you give to the Church and the world.” (cf Amoris Laetitia 174).