The Educational Support Organization, Inc.
The Nourishing Place
We are a 501-c-3, Not-for-Profit Charitable Organization
Tax ID # 72-1246735
[Shape] Sermon, May 9, 2021
Psalm 34: 1-8
Everyone has or had a mother. And most everyone knows motherhood is difficult. In fact, one pop psychologist wrote and said, “Motherhood is difficult. If it was easy fathers would do it!”
Well, I think that is not fair. Let’s look at what the word “mother” originally meant. The word “mother” is similar to such words in other languages. In Spain the word is “madre.” In German it is “mutter.” In China the words is “mama” and in Korea it is “um ma.” But originally, the word was “modor.” It was nor is a noun, a person. it is a verb. That word for “mother” does not indicate gender at all. It is neither male nor female. It is an action word meaning “to take care of, or to tend.” In that case we all “mother” because we all care.
Most of us associate mother with female, so we often lose the true value of the word. All of us know and understand that mothering, taking care of children, is a real joy and job for both fathers and mothers. In addition to caring for children, mothering has another important meaning for both men and women. It means to nourish, feed, and encourage a spiritual and moral dimension to a child’s development. That development is served best when both a mother and father raise the child together in a marriage and family setting that is based on respect and love for one another.
Where do we find that today? My fear is it is found less and less in every society which leads to a downfall of humanity’s most secure and safe environment---parental love. In fact, there is a powerful African proverb that states “the downfall of a nation begins in the homes of its people.” We are there.
When families stop being a child’s secure center, that child has a more difficult road ahead, because its basic yardstick, by which to measure love and acceptance, does not exist. Therefore, anything goes. Behavior becomes more easily corruptible. Hurtful addictions become more prevalent. Violence may become the norm. So, yes children, all children need to be fed, dressed, and housed appropriately. But the more permanent foundation is the development of a spiritual and moral core based on both being loved and giving love. That must be taught, preferably by parents. But then also by teachers, then friends, then through extra-activities. Where are morals being taught today? Where is spiritual development being nurtured?
I think families, meaning both parents, must take a broader view of what it means to raise a child. And that broader view must include nurturing a spirit of love, confidence, and hope. When all of us join together, parents, schools, civic activities, and focus on nurturing the fledgling spirit within a child (because all children are born with spirit, it just needs to be encouraged) amazing things happen. Discouraged children cheer up. Dishonest children “fess up.” Fearful children open up and more easily communicate. Angry children learn to make up. Moody, grumpy children lighten up. All of us should attempt to see these traits are corrected or shaped into appropriate behaviors beginning at very early ages. Yes, education needs to add values and morals to their curriculum. Parents need to focus on the development of these traits more than ever before or we will lose this current upcoming generation to a life that is less, far less, than they deserve.
When children are raised with love, if they are educated with love and respect, in they receive discipline that is corrective and appropriate, then whatever befalls them they will have a firm enough foundation to face hardships and disappointments with courage, faith, hope, peace, and forgiveness. These actions are powerful. They not only shape people they shape outcomes and results of relationships. It is no longer enough to send children to school. Parents, both father and mother, need to step up. They are always the first teachers...their way of raising their children either opens up a life of meaning for their children, or a life of misery and loss. We are far far too cavalier about Sunday School, Monday through Friday school, and parental on-going schooling in values, morals, and spirit. Shaping a child with the ability to enjoy life and be productive in life is almost 100 percent up to the parents until a child is about 7 years old. Then other people also are in positions of authority to help shape a child.
All of this means some of us need to change our priorities and attitudes. Those changes mean growth, even as adults, in all the ways that matter. Enhancing traits that make life better, richer, more fun, more productive, more joyous, and more meaningful are traits our Lord and our God chooses for us to have and to use. He has placed those as potentials and possibilities in each human life. It is up to us to grab them and make them real. That requires time, commitment, and caring, not just for parents but for all of us who live in families, in extended families, and in communities. It takes us all to do it right.
We as a church need to seriously recruit young families and provide spiritual activities for children in the community. We are as a church are helping children learn to read. But we need to do more. We need to know these children outside of their school building and get to know them and other family members on a more personal caring basis ….then invite them to church. Become friends with those who really do need friends. There are way too many single moms with lots of children...and so many fathers are absent. Let’s talk about these issues and see if there is any possibility to create more positive changes in this area. All of us would rest better in our older ages if we knew the children of today were learning to be loving, caring, working people. Think about it and let’s see what we can do and how.
Happy parents and grandparents day and happy day for all of us...all we do in the name of the Lord is to God’s glory...but it is also to our own happiness.