Part of our purpose as moms is to inspire our children.
"As mothers and fathers, it is so easy to get distracted by the details of our lives. We have so much to do! We must feed our children and take care of their health. We must oversee their education and their training to make sure they will be able to take care of themselves and live in a civilized society. We train them in righteousness so they may understand how God wants them to live. We try to relate to them in mature ways and help them learn to have healthy relationships.
Yet often, I think, we get lost in these mulitudinous tasks that rule our lives, and we lose sight of the underlying purpose behind all those tasks, which is to prepare our children to go into the world and make disciples for our Lord.
Each of our children has been given a specific personality and a particular set of circumstances that will give shape to God's purposes for his or her life. It is our privilege and responsibility as parents to help our children understand their particular fit in God's plan. This means pointing out special skills and talents. It also means helping children realize that God didn't give them such skills and talents just to use on themselves, but to glorify him and bring others to Him through the stewardship of their lives. In other words, we are to help them see themselves and their potential and then to inspire them for God's purposes:
Joel, you are so musical. Maybe you will write great music that will encourage others to worship God and want to know Him!"
Joy, you are so compassionate. I love the sweet cards you make! I can see the Lord using you to comfort and encourage many lonely or hurting people."
This quote and more about the gift of inspiration are in my book, The Ministry of Motherhood.
When our days are busy and so many demands on our time cry out for attention, it can be easy to start seeing our children as if they are projects to be perfected; always needing more correction, more training, and more and more work. After awhile, that sort of focus leads to resentment on both sides. Over many years of mothering, I've learned that reminding my children of the things they do well and encouraging them to bless someone else can do more to turn a negative attitude, a really bad day, or a hopeless cause completely around than the longest, most eloquent lecture I could have mustered.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Our chief want is someone who would inspire us to be what we know we could be."
I think that's a pretty good job description for a mom, don't you?!