Thursday, January 31, 2013
“You don’t know what you are raising!” These words echoed in my mind long after I heard them on the radio one Mother’s Day. I simply couldn’t forget nor ignore it. I felt I had to pay attention to my heart and look deeper into my soul. I had to assess my attitudes and behaviors toward my role as a mother. All the rigors of motherhood came flashing at the back of my mind. The daily grind of monotonous routine, the cycle of waking and sleeping and waking and sleeping, again and again and again, all seem the same and endless. The excitement slowly faded. The energy sucked and drained. What is the meaning of all these? The feeling of being trapped and lost, of knowing who I really am apart from mothering, brought me some moments of resentment. Staying at home, the mundane household chores day in day out were things I thought were not what I wanted to do. I wanted to explore a career, earn a living, pursue my own passions. I felt misplaced.
Then came these piercing words! So powerful they broke my heart. I realized I am in a very privileged and blessed place, a place of power. I am a mother. I am shaping a future. I am an influence. What a great honor to have been entrusted such a magnificent responsibility. It will be up to me if I make it or break it. I choose the former! And I am rallying the message to all mothers.
All throughout history, we witness great men and women who were influenced by their mothers. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The mother is the supreme asset of the national life. She is more important, by far, than the successful statesmen, businessmen, artist or scientist.” Thomas Edison’s mother who courageously educated him after his unthriving days at school had this influence on him: “My mother was the making of me. She understood me. She let me follow my bent.” Saint Augustine was not a godly person at first. But his mother Monica never gave up on him. She prayed unceasingly for her son and Augustine eventually surrendered to God and to this day has a great impact in other people’s lives. Most of all, I think about Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was very observant of what was going on in the life of his son. She kept and stored in her heart and thought about the important events surrounding the life of Jesus (Lk.2:19; Lk. 2:51).
There is that seed of power we, mothers, possess inside our being which influences the children assigned to us. We only have to recognize it and tap into it so we can fully use it. We should not, therefore, undermine who we are in our society, especially those of us who chose to stay home instead of pursuing a “career”. Motherhood is more than a career. It is a privilege! It is a calling, a vocation! As what Dan Miller said in his book “48 Days To The Work You Love”, "vocation is what you’re doing in life that makes a difference and builds meaning for you, which you can review in your later years to see the impact you’ve made in the world." This will leave a legacy. Motherhood is such a high calling. It requires a great amount of wisdom and knowledge to help build and nourish a life that will one day be someone to impact the next generation. Perhaps Theodore Roosevelt’s mother would have doubted even a thought that someday that little baby she was feeding, cuddling, raising would one day become the President of a great nation. Or Thomas Edison’s mom could have just given up on his child when the school system didn’t recognize his special gifts that were not in tune with the majority. Augustine’s mother could have just abandoned the idea of interceding for him in prayers. And then there's Mary. Who would have thought that her son would one day walk on water, feed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish or raise the dead and most importantly, the Savior and Messiah? But these mothers used their power they might have not even recognized. Their strength and determination to be what they were called to be left an indelible legacy not only in the lives of their children but eventually that of the world.
We don’t know what we are raising! We don’t know exactly what our children would become. They might not become as famous as the people mentioned, but they are as valuable as anybody else. They have been fearfully and wonderfully made by God for a specific purpose. They have been uniquely created, different from everybody else. The challenges of raising these souls can be exhausting, frustrating, disappointing at times. I speak about my own experience or inexperience. I have an only child. My boy had not always been the “normal”, easy to raise kind of child. He has always been intense and sensitive to his environment. It has been a roller coaster ride for me. When he was a baby until around three years old, he wouldn’t go with anybody else except mom and dad. He would be anxious when left with other people. He didn’t know how to play with kids that made me feel he’s left out when all the other kids happily played with each other while he was by himself. It broke my heart. There are times I tend to compare him with others. There are times I forget the excellent gifts he has when he’s not conforming to the norm. His uniqueness slips out of my thoughts when he doesn’t perform to my expectations. When things are excellent and he does great, I’m in high spirits. My great expectations are satisfied. But when he doesn’t seem to meet what I want, or what the society’s standard is, I get discouraged and down. I fail to see the distinctiveness of him from the rest of the world. I tend to let him conform, a lot of times for my own convenience and reputation. Motherhood then becomes all about “me”. My child has become my extension and reflection. If he behaves bad, I fear of what people would think of “me”, of how I fail to train him well. He then becomes a measurement, my yardstick, my trophy of my own sense of accomplishment or a mark of my failure. I forgot to see motherhood is not about “me.” I focused on my own selfish ambitions, my own picture of a model child. I got frustrated and disappointed because I did not focus on my child’s strength but on his weaknesses. At first I thought my focus was on his strengths. I gave him toys related to his interests. I read him books that he was passionate about. We went to places that excited him. I thought I did enhance his strengths. But the reality is at the back of my mind I still wanted him to conform. I haven’t fully accepted his uniqueness, his bent. Now comes the moment of truth, the confrontation within myself.
Mothering is not about me. It’s about this gift of life that has been entrusted to me. Acceptance and celebration of the child’s individuality and uniqueness are a freeing realization for me. If I focus, observe and nurture my child’s uniqueness, his wonderful gifts and talents and not to satisfy my own selfish expectations, I am using my power to stir his life into productive pursuit. That is our mother power.
But that power is not a power of our own. We need to plug ourselves into a higher power. We need to constantly recharge our own spirit and soul by constant communication with God in prayer and soaking ourselves in the Word of God, constantly, consistently seeking Him first. Apart from Him we are nothing. Without that higher power imparted to us, we will lose sight and energy to persist, to not give up in the most challenging times. On the other hand, if we ourselves are in tune with the Spirit of God, listening to this calling, we will have the wisdom to raise and nurture our precious children. Those seeds had been implanted in our own wombs, sprouted and grew to become the cradle of civilizations, of history and of the world to come. The power of God within us is the power of possibilities, the power of hope, the power of faith, the power of love that can turn things around in the lives of our children. We are God’s ambassadors to raise generations, to raise the future.
All of us mothers, let us not forget who we are. We have the power.
© 2013, Odette Navarro / All Rights Reserved
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- Odette Gadapan Navarro
- Flawed. Broken. Wretched sinner. Forgiven. Embraced by the grace and love of God through Jesus Christ. I'm married for fourteen years with my artist husband Val and blessed with a fascinating son Gideon who's 13 years old and we reside in Illinois, United States. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts from the Royal Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines Since then I've been in the Broadcasting industry, Marketing and Real Estate. I'm currently working in the Outreach Department of a faith-based not-for-profit Christian organization. I love journaling, gardening, reading,picnicking with my two boys in summer, enjoying nature and savoring the beauty that God made available for our consumption. But most importantly, before the sun sneaks out of the horizon, I love reading the Bible, praising and praying to the One who loves me and created me and gifted me to be more than what the eyes can see! ! I want to make sure I come up first before the rays come out and listen to what God has to say for the day! I live on purpose! Each day is a gift! Live it for Jesus!