One of my teachers is the only person on the earth who believes I have any potential.” “I wish someone had taken the time to sit down with me and explain what would happen if I got pregnant as a teen.” “I wish I had a Mom and Dad who cared about me.” “I wish my parents had helped me figure out what I was meant to do instead of how I could help them financially.” “I wish my mom would help me figure this stuff out.””I wish adults really understood the truth about what we need.”
I heard these comments from young people in their teens and twenty’s over the last week. My daughter and I had the privilege to drop in on a conference that broke my heart. As I talked with university researchers, business leaders, community activists and educators, I became more and more depressed. (I promise you their insights will scare you to death.) When you boiled down the conference to its essence it was this, “Only a very small handful of people in this country are parenting their children. And many of those who aren’t parenting their children, honestly believe they are wonderful parents.”
Have you ever been antsy? (I believe the official medical term is “ants in the pants”.) It’s that feeling where there must be something more. Something more you should be doing, maybe something really important. Something that makes a lasting impact on God’s Kingdom. Surely God didn’t mean for you to use your talents changing diapers and wiping runny noses. Or did He?
Enter The Ministry of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson. Ms. Clarkson does a wonderful job of gently walking you down the path of discovering what it is God has really called you to as a mother. She has developed a systematic way of examining the idea of mothers as ministers. Not a paid minister in a church, but as possibly the most important minister your children will ever have.
As a former career woman, turned stay-at-home mom, I get upset when I hear mothers say staying home with their children is not fulfilling and doesn’t allow them to use their gifts. Women in management often mention the frustration of only being able to use their leadership skills at the local PTA. I am not going to debate the pros and cons of mothers working. I will say that whether you work outside the home or not, mothers are leading a project that requires the most creativity, business savvy and leadership skills possible. The critical leadership role God has given you is to lead your children to Him.
Mothers (and fathers) need to hone and develop their leadership skills, perhaps even more than the most famous CEO. Why? Because we are attempting to lead our children to follow God all the days of their lives. Whether or not we can successfully lead our children, may mean the difference not only in their lives but also in their eternities.
On the bucket list of most people who live in Atlanta is running the Peachtree Road Race. Winding through Buckhead and Midtown, the 10K race is the largest in the world. It really is an experience worth having. I decided to make my attempt the summer after I had walked the Breast Cancer 3-Day in the Fall. I rationalized I had already gotten myself in “awesome” shape, so how hard could 10K really be?
The problem is that I hate running. I mean loathe, despise and every other negative word you can think of to use! For some unknown reason, I can walk for days, but running (at a slower pace than I walk, I might add) exhausts me after a block. Okay, it’s mainly mental exhaustion, but still, I am done after a few blocks.
Maybe our house is unique, but it seems like a good portion of our yearly stress hits in November and December. Cooking, cleaning, entertaining, end of semester testing for our daughter, church and social obligations and a pile of other to-do’s means the period from Thanksgiving to the New Year is basically a blur. As mom/teacher, the end of the year is also when I have what I call my annual “panic attack”. I understand real panic attacks are a serious medical condition that call for medical attention. Although, my episodes probably don’t qualify as a classic panic attack, they are still very stressful.
I find myself questioning everything I have or have not done for my daughter. As she is in her junior year of high school, the questions seem to take on an even more serious tone. Did we choose the best subjects to study? Is she keeping up with students in other school environments? Is she developing a strong personal relationship with God? Do I push her too hard? Should she have more down time? More friends? Less friends? Different friends? The questions can go on for hours.