“Do not forsake the teachings of your mother” ~Proverbs 1:8
That bible verse is especially poignant to us homeschooling moms as we are in a position of teaching our children practically 24/7. OF COURSE we want our children to mind our teachings and delight in knowing the bible backs that up. But what about the adult parent minding his/her own mother?
At 46 years of age, I like to think that I am competent at most of the important parts of my life: marriage, raising children, finances, housekeeping…er, well, maybe not the housekeeping. But, in general, I’m a pretty responsible and competent person. Yet my mother, who I love TO PIECES, almost always finds an opening to point out that I just don’t quite do it right. It doesn’t really matter what the “it” is…her way is always better at “it”. My siblings and I even share an inside joke about it using the snarky line “You’re doing it wrong” (which, by the way, are words my mother has never uttered…only implied).
I’ve pretty much learned to shrug off what I have perceived to be her criticisms (but what she, no doubt, perceives to be loving and helpful advice) because, quite frankly, having a contentious relationship with my mom is the last thing I want. So I morph myself into the proverbial duck that lets those comments roll off my slick, quacky back.
Today was a perfect example. After graciously agreeing to watch my boys so I could take care of some errands, I return home to my mom informing me that I don’t have my fireplace insert configured correctly and that’s why I burn through too much wood. My mom doesn’t even have a fireplace insert in her house yet she clearly was an authority on the matter. I simply shrugged the comment away along with a mental image (so as not to hurt her feelings) of looking at her as if she had two heads.
Then Proverbs 1:8 slapped me square in the face. This is very same verse I had my 9 year old repeat several times as we read it as part of our daily bible reading plan yesterday. Oh sure, we shared some laughs repeating it over and over but deep down…I was serious about my children not forsaking the teachings of their mother. And here I was…forsaking my own mother’s teachings.
Turns out, she was right. I was, in fact, doing it wrong. After a few minutes of conversation with my dad and a few more clicks on the Internet, I managed to learn to burn less wood and crank up the room temperature by 3 degrees within an hour. And it will likely still be burning when I wake up in the morning.
I hate it when my mother is right. Not because she gloats because she doesn’t; its not even a part of her behavioral inventory. I hate when my mother is right because even as a responsible and competent 46 year old, I am humbled to learn that I have forsaken the teaching of my mother in lieu of my own wisdom, or lack thereof. And being humbled just isn’t one of my favorite routes to spiritual maturity although, admittedly, a neccesary one. Kind of like enduring the 10-mile backup at the Delaware Toll Plaza on US 95…but way worse.
I thank God for my mom, for her unconditional love and care for me, and for her teachings. I also thank God for His grace and the stirring of His spirit within me at just the right moment. As much as my mom loves me, He assures me that His love is even greater and will always be there for me when I need it most.
And lastly, but not least, I am thankful for a butt-kicking, blazing hot, long-burning fire on this frigid night!