Nothing can be more rewarding to a mother (except making her hubby very, very happy!) in all the world than raising your children. Real success is success with one’s closest family relationships; the Bible got it right in Titus 2.
Just like a true athlete works at shaving his minutes, a true mother works at refining her children at ever progressively deeper levels. It takes humor, good will, soft touch, grooming boot-camp, spanking touch, politeness boot-camp, applause, no nonsense firmness, socialization boot-camp, warm affirmations, smiles, talks…talks…talks…subduing their flesh, letting up and then returning to keep the pressure on, challenging them to subdue it some more, followed by wild “you did it”s. And in and through it all, sticking them to the Lord with super-glue.
If there is one thing I want to go down to my grave as having said in this life, it is: “Pay attention to your children, and then pay attention to them some more!” They last forever. There is no re-doing it. If a mother invests in her children, in the end, her buttons will pop right off her chest. There is simply no laurel like it. But if the children grow up to be an embarrassment to the parents, the parents will go down to their graves in sorrow, with wounds that never heal, no matter what else they accomplish in life. What parents cannot see in the beginning is that there is only a tiny window to accomplish all of this. It goes like paper in a fire. Every day counts.
I’m worked up by what I see to the contrary on every trip to town. A young boy “helped” me in the hardware store this morning, underpants showing four inches at waist, singing a pop song so loudly he couldn’t concentrate on making accurate measurements on a board I was having him cut, grinned sheepishly while telling me how he failed shop in school, carelessly mis-measured and mis-cut, just like he knew he would. And he felt like a total failure.
So I hid his flop from the manager (in the next aisle over), and we began again while I worked with him (this was the Savior’s main disciplining technique) every step of the way…“Let’s make it work anyway! Perhaps we could put it at this angle, here, I’ll hold the end, let’s measure this way, no, get the end of your tape over the edge,” etc. and then wildly praised him at the end…probably a first in his life. Being made to do something right and then lavishly praised. He walked away so happy and “oh-fiddle-‘twas nothin’ shy!” Childhood is made up of thousands of these imprints, either one way or the other.