This generation needs mothers with a magnificent obsession…

Motherhood is both a demanding and a rewarding profession. Unfortunately, the rewards, as often is true with any endeavor, often come much later in life. Nevertheless, a prime characteristic of the good mother is unselfishness; she can wait for the final realization of her rewards. Meantime she can watch God work in the lives of her children over the days and years. No one — not teacher, preacher, or psychologist — has the same opportunity to mold minds, nurture bodies, and develop potential usefulness as does a mother. That the woman who bears and nurses the baby should care for the young and for the dwelling in which the young live is both practical and consistent with the basic qualities that nature has given male and female.

Although a woman living in the twenty-first century is different in many ways from her foremothers, in at least way she is forever the same. Some would say that she is a servant of her biological fate, to which she has to adjust her other pursuits. Of course, this condition may be interpreted as mere slavery with the procreative and nurturing tasks as the shackles; but, on the other hand, this biological duty may also be accepted as a divinely destiny with the awesome opportunity for a woman to link hand and heart with the Creator God in bearing and rearing children — preparing them as the next generation — ultimately the most important and necessary “product” a nation can produce.

Despite pressures and difficulties, the job can be overwhelmingly satisfying and amazingly productive because the result of really competent mothering will be passed from generation to generation. Products in the marketplace may come and go, but generation after generation mothers produce their sons and daughters. A child needs his mother to be all there; to be focused on him, to recognize his problems and needs; to see him, listen to him; to love, want, support, and guide him. A young woman wrote to the popular advice columnist Abigail van Buren, describing her mother to “Dear Abby” as “a professional woman who collected a husband, a daughter, and a dog to enrich her life.” According to the daughter, the only one not damaged by this enrichment was the dog.

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There is no greater need for the coming years than a revival of interest in the responsibilities of motherhood. Becoming a mother does bring significant changes. You “risk losing devotion to yourself and to your causes,” according to one professional woman. One of my favorite movies as a teenager was titled Magnificent Obsession.  The hero was not out of balance or driven by a selfish agenda — sold-out to this purposeful goal, not bound-in to selfish pursuits. This generation needs mothers with a magnificent obsession — in the sense of complete dedication to their task of nurturing the next generation and rearing them up unto the Lord — who are not only family-oriented but also family-obsessed in the sense of passionate commitment to their high and holy task of preparing the next generation. Mothers not only need to be aware of family schedules and basic physical needs, but they must become committed to creating what French mothers call cadre, establishing the foundation upon which character is formed and through which preparation for life and work is done, the framework with those limits. They are preparing the men and women who will take their places in the world and who will have the opportunity to continue to guide the creation according to biblical principles.

Much has been said about the virtue of determined childlessness and the right to make your own place in the sun; yet to locate an aging mother who believes she made a mistake in pouring her life into her children will be difficult, and to find a child to testify that his mother loved him and poured herself into his life to his detriment and demise is virtually impossible. In this all-consuming task of rearing up the next generation, surely countless mothers would join me in saying, “Try it – you’ll like it!” The Lord Himself says, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” (Ps. 127:4-5)

Excerpt from Dorothy Kelley Patterson, Where’s Mom? The High Calling of Wife and Mother in Biblical Perspective (Fort Worth: Seminary Hill Press, 2013), 37-38, 44.


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