First and foremost, we are called to love our children. One of the directives older women are given is to teach younger women to love their children. One would think that would come naturally to us moms, and to a large degree it does. But, the fact that older women are told to teach us how to do it indicates to me that there is a love that is much deeper, much greater than anything we humans are capable of without conscious effort and work. This love will prove to be sacrificial from the first day we welcome our child to the world. That love will require daily devotion and humility we watch our children grow and develop with the hope of eventually seeing them spread their wings to follow God wherever He may call them. That love will make us lose sleep on their behalf, to meet physical needs, to talk with, pray for, and even worry about their well-being. That love is an incomprehensible love given by God Himself as the greatest tool we have in carrying out every other element of our job as parents. What a tremendous privilege!
We are instructed to teach our children. We are privileged to be the go-to place for answers where our children are concerned. The “whys and wherefores” of the world they live in are learned from their mom and dad. How amazing is that? Deuteronomy 6 tells us to teach our children diligently about things of the Lord, so they will always know the answer to why things are the way they are or why they happened the way they did. (Deut. 6:7 and 20) But, we are not only given an incredible opportunity to teach them diligently in the ways of the Lord, but we are also given the chance to teach them diligently about all other things as well. Where do children learn their colors? Generally through conversations with their parents. Where do children learn their ABCs? Most often by singing a little song with their mom and dad. The list of things we are privileged to teach our children is endless. How they think. What they know. How they interact with others. How big their view of the world is. All of those things and more are an offshoot of teaching they receive from their parents. I stand in awe that God has given me such a high role, don’t you?
We are also privileged to train our children. How is this different from teaching them, you ask? It goes deeper. Instead of simply teaching them facts, theories, truths, etc., we are commanded to point them in the direction they should grow. We as parents are the single biggest influences in our children’s lives, so their personality, direction in life, drive, character, and more is shaped through their relationship with us. When Solomon directed us to “train up a child in the way he should go,” he gave us a big responsibility with a wonderful expected outcome— “when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (We explore that concept in much greater detail a little later in the Teach Them Diligently book.)
Next, we have the job of providing for our children. Think of that. When our children are born, they are completely unable to survive in this world. They cannot provide one single thing for themselves. But, they are placed in the loving arms of mom and dad and a long-term relationship of trust and provision begins. That child has no choice but to rest in the confidence that mom and dad will be there when they need them to be, giving them food, shelter, warmth, clothes, love, and meeting every other physical and emotional need they may have. 2 Corinthians 12:14 tells us that it’s a parent’s job to provide for their children, and as parents we can always trust the Lord to make a way for us to do just that.
We are called to nurture our children. Ephesians 6 and Colossians 3 make it very clear that we are not to provoke our children, but we are “to nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord… lest they be discouraged.” When we nurture our children, we have the incredible opportunity to give them everything they need to grow, develop, and flourish into the young men and women God created them to be instead of the rebellious, bitter teens our culture has convinced us is inevitable.
Because we know them best, we are called to pray for them the most. In Lamentations 2:19, we are told to “lift up thine hands toward Him for the life of Thy young children.” Yes, God already knows what our children need, but through praying for them, God shows us parents what our children really need and allows us to know them even better. It’s an amazing gift to be able to lift our children before the God Who loves them more than we ever could and have Him direct our paths as we fulfill all these other duties for them. By praying specifically for them, God also gives us great insights into their heart, which allows us to teach and train them much more effectively. He shows us their needs, which helps us as we provide for and nurture them. He helps us see their natural inclinations and fears, which helps us know how to approach them. It is through following the directive to pray for our children that we can most effectively parent them.
Can you believe we get to do all that? I defy you to find another job that offers such a cool set of duties— and I haven’t even discussed the pay and fringe benefits of our position. We truly are most privileged to be able to call ourselves moms.