By P.J. Casebolt
“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20). By a special act of creation, God created woman, mothers, and motherhood. I would like to wield the pen and strike a blow for motherhood at least one more time before the term becomes completely meaningless, or even extinct. Mothers are already an endangered species in our modern society, and if some continue to have their way with respect to abortion and the deterioration of family values, the extinction of motherhood may become more fact than fable.
All are agreed that many of our social and moral problems are a direct result of deterioration in the home. Yet, not enough are willing to do anything about the problem. According to the latest statistics, well over half of all mothers work outside the home. And, the time and emphasis spent on being a mother suffers accordingly. Again, if some feminists and like-minded “liberators” of womanhood and motherhood have their way, all mothers will be out of the home and the children left over from the effects of abortion will all be turned over to surrogate day-care centers which will be partially or completely supported by taxes. Even those of us who are trying to salvage the institution of motherhood will be forced to support those practices which are destroying the very thing we are striving to save.
As in most matters, there are exceptions to the general rule. We recognize situations which are affected by widowhood, shiftless fathers and husbands, childless couples, or even homes where the children are grown and gone. But the exception is supposed to prove the rule, not become the rule.
A lot of emphasis is being made on the matter of “pro-choice” and a woman’s right to fulfill her own ambitions. Should not at least equal rights be accorded those women who choose to remain in the home and make motherhood their number one priority in life? These latter are fast becoming the minority, and are beginning to be regarded as second-class women. I believe that we should take the time in our speech, and space in our writing, to commend every woman who wants to devote all of her time to being a woman, a wife, and a mother.
The Bible is filled with examples of “mothers of Israel” who emulate and exonerate the institution of motherhood. One mother’s love for her child was so strong that she was willing to let an impostor have her child rather than see the child put to death (1 Kings 3:26, 27). But, another mother encouraged her daughter to dance before a king and to have John the Baptist’s head cut off (Matt. 14:3-11). We have all seen children creating havoc in stores, church buildings, and other public places while their mothers were either nowhere to be seen or were totally oblivious to the actions or safety of their own offspring. News headlines and police blotters are filled with accounts of child neglect, and even abuse and murder. But I noticed something last summer that reaffirmed my faith in mothers and motherhood.
Several mothers were together while their offspring played nearby. It was difficult to tell which offspring be- longed to which mother, but all of the mothers seemed to be keeping an eye out for the little ones. If a problem seemed to be developing, one of the mothers would go check it out. If some bully began to mistreat his or her playmates, a mother would discipline the rebel. On one occasion, the father intervened in a squabble, and sent one of the big bullies sailing with its tail tucked between its legs. I mean, literally. You see, I live in the country, and a herd of cows and calves graze, feed, sleep, and play in the field by our house. And as J.D. Tant used to say, “Before God,” these cows acted more like mothers than do some mothers of the human race. I noticed that some mothers saw to it that their calves were fed and cared for even before the mother’s own personal ambitions were satisfied. My heart took hope. If all else fails, maybe we can turn to the beasts of the field and the fowl of the air for some basic lessons in mother- hood. Once we learn the basics, we can begin reading our Bibles instead of reading after psychologists intoxicated with human wisdom, and listen to the Lord instead of some self-styled liberator who only wants to bring the women and children of our country into bondage of the flesh.
I wrote the following poem in 1988 when I was in a meeting at Monticello, Florida. The sister in whose home we were staying received a telephone message one day that her mother had died. I noticed tears in her eyes when she hung up the phone. I can’t stop tears for mothers, but maybe I can help fellow pilgrims see through them more clearly.
A Tear for Mother
There are, it seems, so many kinds of tears
Those born of pain, of sadness, and tears of joy as well;
Some kind will follow us all through our years
But we’ll grow wiser since that first, lone teardrop fell.
We have a different feeling in our heart
For father, sister, brother, children, loved ones all;
It’s there when first we meet and when we part,
Renewed by mem’ries, songs, by pictures on the wall.
For mothers, too, we have a special love
Because the love they give is special, diff’rent still;
It’s gentle like the call of mourning dove,
And melancholy like the woodland whip-poor-will.
So, mothers, be a mother while you may,
For no one else can fill your place, Be so dear;
And when it comes your time to go away,
Somewhere there’ll drop for you a special tear.