A Mother’s Instructions

A mother’s instructions are important. Proverbs speaks of that importance.

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.
(Proverbs 1:8–9 ESV)

My son, keep your father’s commandment,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
(Proverbs 6:20–21 ESV)

Every seven years at the Feast of Tabernacles the law was to be read to all Israel including the men, the women, the little ones, and the sojourners (see Deuteronomy 31:10-13). Mothers in Israel were to know moral and spiritual things just like the fathers. Mother’s instructions were important, and so it should also be with Christian mothers.

A child’s moral foundation is formed by the age of nine. Their outlook on truth, integrity, meaning, justice, and morality are formed early in life. Not much can change this outlook except the power of the gospel, so mothers have an important role by their instruction to form this moral foundation. The famous quote from Francis Xavier speaks to the persistence of this early moral training, “Give me the children until they are seven and anyone may have them afterwards.”

Batsell Barrett Baxter was a well know preacher among us over 40 years ago. He was also the chairman of the Bible Department at David Lipscomb when I was a student. I had him as a professor and as my course advisor. In his biography, *Every Life a Plan of God,* he speaks fondly of his mother. She read or taught him Bible stories as a child, and that teaching influenced the course of his life. Mothers have an important role in teaching the Bible.

Children are fact absorbers. They memorize easily. They remember the stories we tell them, especially the stories we repeatedly tell them, and the good news is they like stories repeated. Childhood is a time we can teach them lots of information about the Bible. A child’s mind thinks concretely. Concrete thinking is very fact oriented and literal.

Abstract thinking in children usually begins between the preteen to mid-teen years. Abstract thinking sees the significance of ideas and not just the facts. It understands concepts and figurative language (of which there is an abundance in the Bible). All the facts we have taught our children will be processed as they begin to mature mentally and engage in abstract thinking.

Mothers are also on the frontline of manners. This may not be as important as moral and spiritual instruction, but I’m certainly grateful for that instruction too. We are likely to hear mothers saying, “Sit up straight.” “Use your fork not your hands.” “Chew with your mouth closed.” “Say please.” “Apologize to your sister.” “Say thank you.” It is because of this persistent instruction that we are not barbarians when released upon the world as adults.

Mothers are important, and at least one of the reasons for their importance is their instruction in morals, scripture, and manners. I for one am thankful for my mother’s instructions.

— Russ Holden

 

 

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