POSTED ON MAY 8, 2013:
Raising the Future
A Mother's Day Message
We have seen the face too often. It's the face of a young man accused of a mass killing of innocent people. From the president to Dr. Phil, everyone has an opinion on why this is happening. At some point, everyone points to the family situation of the accused. Almost without exception, what we find is that the shooter or bomber came from a divorced home, dysfunctional home or an abusive home.
Most agree that there are telltale signs in the troubled young adults who seem to be causing all of this bloodshed, but most also agree that you can't really see this type of sudden violence coming. We'd like to think we can but, the truth is, most times it eludes us.
One question which does not seem to be asked is why are the killers always young men? Has there been a time where the face splashed all over the news is a young woman? Since girls come from the same troubled family units as boys, why is it the boys and not the girls? Both have great struggles and stresses growing up. And school and peer pressure is just as hard on girls as it is on boys. What seems to keep the girls from acting out in the violent and harmful way that boys are choosing?
We know girls are not immune to being fatherless. A girl needs a father every bit as much as a boy does. However, girls tend to take on a level of guilt that, somehow, they are responsible for their father's absence. This can lead to self-destructive behavior in the girls -- drugs, tattoos, piercings, wearing provocative clothing, smoking and drinking. Experts tell us most prostitutes are really only looking for the male approval they missed as children.
However, there is still the fact that in their early years, girls receive their guidance and training primarily from their mom -- and these moms are a little girl's first role model. Yet, a little boy's role model is his dad, and so many homes today are without the father that boys need.
Though moms do their best in raising all of their children, raising boys takes a different hand than raising girls. Moms can do only so much, and most are doing plenty in addition to raising the next generation.
More than ever before, the moms of today must do more with less -- often while dealing with either an absent or seldom-home father. Historically, fathers have been gone from the home for different reasons. They were off to war, they went to hunt to provide for their family, they had work in a farway place. Today, due to the high illegitimacy rate of births and the sky-high divorce rate, many more are gone for these modern reasons. But a boy doesn't just need a biological father. He needs a daddy and, as he grows, a dad. There is a difference. We all know how a man can become a father, but that doesn't make him the dad a young boy needs as he grows older. This may be one of the biggest challenges facing the moms of today: How can I be both mother and father to my son?
Clearly, most single moms are doing a lot right. And considering what women are faced with, they are doing an absolutely outstanding job.
What makes for the type of healthy mother that every child needs and, fortunately, many get? There are certain qualities.
For one, the woman who makes a conscious decision as to when she is ready to be a mother has a much better shot at being prepared for it and good at it.
Second, most attentive moms begin mothering during their pregnancy. They are fully engaged and prepared to start the most important responsibility in anyone's life: creating and raising the next generation. And every parent's goal should be to provide their children with the opportunities to do better in life that their parents or grandparents.
Moms get to stay moms their whole life. It's never the wrong time to kiss their kids, hug them, or tell them that they love them.
Moms bring family integrity. Family values are the foundation under everything that matters.
Moms teach how to have interpersonal relationships. To learn how to look deeper at people, develop lasting friendships, and learn how to truly care for someone.
Moms teach their children a sense of competence so they can believe in themselves and say, "I can do this."
Most importantly, moms must pass on to their children their spiritual principles. Thomas Moore begins his book, Care of the Soul, with this truth: "The great malady of the 20th century implicated in all of our troubles and affecting us individually and socially is loss of soul. When soul is neglected, it doesn't just go away. It appears in obsessions, addictions, violence, and loss of meaning. It is impossible to define precisely what the soul is. Soul is revealed in attachment, love, and community."
There can be no greater responsibility of a mother than caring for her children's soul.
Children are wonderful. It takes a mom to make them good, responsible adults. We need to appreciate and recognize all moms who are doing just this, for someday their children will be leading this world. Perhaps this year, you might consider doing something special for a mom, perhaps in your neighborhood, perhaps you know her through church, perhaps she's the mother of one of the children your kids go to school with. It can be as small as sending a Mother's Day card with a little note saying, "You're a great Mom!"
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