The Blessing of a Mother

She was just a poor little Polish girl of 7 with one brother and four sisters. This little girl’s father was an alcoholic and he was not home much. By the time she was in the 2nd grade, her mother had left the family; shortly thereafter her father did, too. This little girl and her siblings stayed in the rundown house without a parent until a neighbor saw what was happening and intervened. She was sent to live with her grandparents, her mother’s parents, who showed her love and acceptance. Her mother did eventually return with a new husband and then left again. Her mother managed to stop by again, though, just to throw the children’s clothes on the front lawn. This little girl grew up, married my father, and became my wonderful mother. “Wonderful?” you may be thinking. How could this be? She came from a broken home and had a horrible example of a mother! Yes, wonderful. For when my mother lived with her grandparents, they showed her the love of God, and my mother received Christ as her Savior.

Knowing my mother’s sad background helps me to appreciate even more the mother I have. My mother is a very kind woman. When she was a little girl, she was nicknamed, “Grandma Booty.” Her sisters called her that because my mom was concerned that the neighborhood kittens would be cold during the winter months, so she knitted booties for their little paws. I often think of that nickname and smile. That is exactly like my mother. She is very concerned about little things like tiny kitten paws, and strangers, and people whom no one really takes notice of.

My mother has never raised her voice at me –ever– even when I was going through my difficult teen years. I didn’t realize how significant this was until I had children of my own and saw that it was quite easy to raise my voice at them –often. I never remember her ever saying an unkind word to me. To my mother I was the smartest, most beautiful, thoughtful girl in the world (I have since learned that she was just looking at me through her rose-colored glasses of love.) I never wanted to disappoint her.

Last, and most important, my mother has a forgiving heart. She held bitterness in her heart toward her mother, but after hearing a long-ago sermon at church on forgiveness, she realized that she was wrong. And so without her mother ever seeking forgiveness, my mother granted it anyway. I actually grew up knowing (and loving) this grandmother who had abandoned my mother, simply because my mother chose the path of forgiveness.

The longer I experience the mother-daughter relationship with my own two, the more and more I appreciate these fine qualities in my mother. Appreciation is by definition the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value. For the entirety of my life, I have observed and experienced the kindness, gentleness, and forgiveness of my mother, and I truly realize that these qualities are worth far more than gold. Thanks, Mom. I consider it a special blessing from God to have you as my mother.

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Article by Dina Hoskinson. Dina has been a member of Valley Forge Baptist for 25 years and has three children of her own. Dina currently serves as Pastor Scott Wendal’s administrative assistant and has done so for 23 years.

15 Ways to Affirm Your Children

1. Speak Praise to Them—just pause in an unexpected moment and say, “Hey, I just want you to know I’m proud of you, and here are some reasons why!”

2. Write a Specific Note to Them—Write out the good qualities and successes you see unfolding in their lives. Even better—mail it to them. Their surprise is well worth the fifty cents!

3. Speak Highly of Them In Front of Others—When they can hear you, speak up to others about some of the ways you see them growing, doing right, or working hard. They will rise in their attempt to live up to your description!

4. Acknowledge Their Heart—Let them know you understand their good intentions, even when the outcome isn’t what you intended!

5. Seek to Understand Their Emotions—There’s something powerful about having “the way you feel” validated by someone in authority—even if the circumstances can’t change. You may not be able to give them their way, but you could let them know you understand how they feel.

6. Reward Them Tangibly—Pick up and give a gift for no reason other than the fact that you are proud of their good efforts in some area.

7. Honor Them Intangibly—Prefer them in a way that lets them know they are highly valued and esteemed by you. Treat them like you would treat someone very important in your world.

8. Spend Time With Them—They already know you’re busy, so giving them quantity and quality time will speak loudly as to your love and honor toward them.

9. Express Physical Affection Toward Them—Again, just randomly pause, wrap them up in your arms, and squeeze for a while. And while you do, say something like, “I love you so much! I can’t believe how awesome you are!”

10. Surprise Them—Their favorite restaurant or meal, a new book, a special event, or a spontaneous family memory—do something awesome that they aren’t expecting, and let them know it’s because you are proud of them.

11. Do a Random Act of Kindness for Them—Help them clean out their closet, fill their car with gas, send a quick text message, pick them up at school and go to lunch. There are about ten million other ideas you could come up with on your own.

12. Genuinely Admire Them—Pause, think about your child, and consider the ways they excel. Consider the areas in which you might even envy them—and then celebrate those qualities. (Be honest—some times and in some ways our kids flat put us to shame!)

13. Praise Them Publicly—This isn’t bragging if it’s done in the right way, from a grateful heart—but acknowledge what your children are doing right and what God is teaching you through them. One easy way to do this is to thank them in front of others.

14. Defer to Their Decision (When Possible)—Don’t fight over things worth losing. Preferring one another is a wonderful expression of love. For instance, let them choose where or what to eat for dinner. When possible, let them make a key decision and praise them for “getting it right.”

15. Made a Big Deal of Good Decisions—When your kids make a wise choice, go nuts! Celebrate spiritual victories with all the zeal and energy of a lunatic Super Bowl fan!

Article by Pastor Cary Schmidt
Senior Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church in Newington, CT
Read Cary Schmidt’s Blog