Have you ever asked your kids what they want to be when they grow up? I remember, when my children were small, some of the unexpected answers they gave me when I asked them this question. When my son was about three, he would likely have told you that he was going to be a pastor, a garbage man, and a “bad guy” when he grew up. My daughters would probably have answered with the more standard “a princess” or “a ballerina”. I’m not sure what appeal those three choices held for my son, other than possibly getting to drive the cool garbage truck, and I tried not to panic when he insisted on those future occupations. While my daughters will not likely marry into a royal family, they are already well on their way to their aspirations of being ballerinas. Now that my son is eleven, his goals have changed. He is considering a Christian movie producer/videographer, anything to do with computers, or, much to his mom’s dismay, a NASCAR driver. My oldest daughter has her heart set on becoming a physician’s assistant (and is laying out her high school plan to help her reach that goal). My little one is still thinking along the lines of ballerina or maybe a nurse. I know that God has great plans for each of them, no matter what they choose to do as a career. I’m doing my best to teach them the things they need to know to be successful whatever path they take, but I have hopes that one of their goals will be that of godly parenthood.
Have you ever noticed that girls in today’s world rarely answer “Mommy” when asked what they would like to be when they grow up? This saddens me…we’ve lost the vision of motherhood as being a wonderful and godly choice of careers. Our little girls are taught from the cradle that they can be anything they want to be…and this is true. But what’s wrong with teaching them that motherhood is a beautiful choice as well? I have to confess, as my girls get older, I am much less concerned with what job they choose to do and much more concerned that they catch a vision for raising godly children. My husband and I not only have a vision for what we want our children to be, but what we hope and desire for our grandchildren. We believe the Bible teaches us to have a multi-generational vision for our family. Raising a godly family goes way beyond just managing to raise our kids to leave the nest at 18 and fend for themselves. It is about creating a legacy of faith for our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren, and so on.
This must include teaching our daughters to respect and aspire to the role of motherhood. Am I saying that girls can’t be doctors or lawyers or teachers, or whatever else they choose? Of course not, but I am saying that if we don’t teach our daughters that motherhood is a divine calling, a beautiful choice worthy of their talents, then we will fail in our attempts to further the Christian family in our society. When I was in high school, I aspired to be a physician. I won several scholarships and intended to begin a course of pre-med in college after graduation. But, during my senior year, God convicted me that what I really wanted to be was a mother. I was also convinced that I couldn’t “have it all” and be the kind of mother I wanted to be. So, I walked into my guidance counselor’s office, told her my decision, and switched my future major to something else. She looked at me in disbelief, shook her head and with exasperation in her voice (and not a little anger), told me I was “stupid”. She informed me that I was wasting my brain and would regret it. Was she right? Do I now regret giving up medical school for staying home and raising and teaching my children? Absolutely not. I am convinced that I chose what was best and have not regretted it one day since. Our world is teaching our precious daughters that motherhood is something you “settle for”, not aspire to. We must counter this teaching with God’s truth…that motherhood is precious in His sight, and is a very worthy calling.
I am convicted, however, that we often fail in passing on this vision by the example that we set for our children. Do they see us enjoying motherhood or just grumbling about the next load of laundry or meal to be cooked? Do they observe us joyfully serving our families in love, or putting on the martyr act? Are we making motherhood something appealing and rewarding, or does it look to them like a drudgery? I cringe inside when one of my children says to me, “I’m sorry, Mom, that you have to work so hard” or “We’re sure a lot of trouble, aren’t we?” My heart melts as I realize that I’ve made them feel like a burden, instead of a joy.
The next time you pass a mirror, take a look at your face…what are you showing your children? Is the face looking back at you one that is delighting in the role God has given you or is it a stressed-out, unhappy visage? What you see in the mirror is the image of motherhood your children are forming…will they want to follow in your footsteps?
Tonight, on the way to church, I quizzed my youngest about what she wants to be when she grows up. She answered, “I want to be a ballerina…or a nurse.” After a moment of thinking, she added, “No, what I really want to be is a stay-at-home mom who homeschools her children.” I smiled and enjoyed the warm and fuzzy moment…until my oldest daughter spoke up. “Me, too, Mom, only I want to be a stay-at-home mom who brings my children to you to homeschool.” I think she was joking…
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