Summary: Every mother is different and every situation is different; but successful moms are hands-on moms.

Gritty Motherhood

[Note: this is a slight 2015 revision of one of my previous sermons, a 2007 sermon titled “Hands-on Motherhood”]

1. According to CNN, "The typical [stay at home] mother puts in a 92-hour work week… and works at least 10 jobs. In order of hours spent on them per week, these are: housekeeper, day-care center teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive officer and psychologist. By figuring out the median salaries for each position, and calculating the average number of hours worked at each, the firm came up with [an equivalent salary of] $138,095 -- ...”

2. In our day, only the minority of moms are stay at home, so they work even harder!

3. As we celebrate motherhood, we need to remember the difference between mothers who mean well and mothers who do what is in the best interest of their children.

Main Idea: Every mother is different and every situation is different; but successful moms are hands-on moms.

I. There Are Many TYPES of Mothers

A. Achsah: A SHALLOW Materialistic Mother (Judges 1:12-15)

Harvard professor Elizabeth Schor writes, ""American consumers are often not conscious of being motivated by social status and are far more likely to attribute such motives to others than to themselves. We live with high levels of psychological denial about the connection between our buying habits and the social statements they make."

B. Abi: A Mother With An Evil Husband and A GODLY Son (2 Kings 18:1-3)

1. King Josiah likewise followed the ungodly Amon, but he had a good "role model" in the high priest Hilkiah.

2. Mom, if your husband is an unbeliever or a wish-washy Christian, one important think to do is to look for other men to serve as role models… boys need to see masculine Christianity or they will associated Christianity with femininity...

3. We are fortunate to have a masculine church where boys can see dads who lead their homes and serve as the church's leaders…

C. Isaiah’s Wife: A Godly TEAM of Parents (Isaiah 8:1-4)

Note that Isaiah's wife is not mentioned by name, but she was a prophetess…

They followed God's will in naming their child -- and probably His will for their lives in general…this is the ideal…but even the ideal can get bumpy…

II. What Kind of Christian Parents Gives Their Child the Best CHANCE?

There are no guarantees in this realm, only statistical likelihood. Life events, personal choice, and other circumstances can easily change the equation. George Barna studies the success stories – children raised in Christian homes who turned out to be solid believers who followed the Lord – and worked backward. What he found vindicated the direction given to us in Scripture.

"One of the most sobering outcomes of the research was that less than one out of every ten young adults in the U.S. meets these simple criteria."

A. Parents took responsibility to train their children in SPIRITUAL and MORAL matters (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

"A final condition for success that we discovered is that those who produce spiritual champions embrace parenting as their primary job in life" (Barna, p. 24).

B. There was no DOUBT that parents were the authority (Ephesians 6:1-2)

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother' (this is the first commandment with a promise)...”

"real friend and authoritative coach" (Barna, p. 33).

C. Parents eased off and gave their children reasonable FREEDOM (Ephesians 6:4)

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

There are many ways to frustrate children; not letting them make some of their own choices, complements with attachments: barbs, strings, or admonitions to do even better (rather than simply celebrating), over-obligating them, making them justify everything they do with a constructive purpose, pushing beyond reason, or putting them down.

• Typical family with several children: a hero (can do no wrong) and a scapegoat (can do not right)... watch for that (often different parents assign different)

• Negative parenting: “In a classic psychology experiment, teachers were told that half the students in their classes had tested high on a measure predicting academic success, and the other half had tested low. In fact, the students were randomly assigned to the two groups, regardless of academic abilities. At the end of the semester, guess which group had the better grades? The group the teachers thought would do better actually did do better. Conversely, the teachers' negative expectations for the other group was a significant factor in the group's poor showing. Negative expectations from teachers and parents discourage children from trying.” []

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