Summary: Should we listen to our moms? Hmm.
Trust Your Mother’s Teaching
Have you ever received really, really good advice about something you were struggling with? You had no idea what to do, no framework even to decide on the next step, and then you shared your problem with someone and they gave you good advice?
When I thought about this question, my first answer was, ‘No, I can’t think of any time I got good advice and made a good decision’. Then I thought, ‘that can’t be’.
Then I realized that over the years I’ve received all kinds of good advice leading to good decisions, but I don’t know if I’ve ever given credit to the people who steered me in the right direction.
I think I figured it was my call, my decision, my action that led to such and such a good result.
That, in a nutshell, is a key reason we often don’t show enough gratitude to or appreciation of our parents. We receive all kinds of guidance, and wisdom and loving care.
We’re messed up by them, yes of course. And they’re miles from perfect. Yes we know that too. But by them we’re given a framework with which to interpret the world and understand ourselves and others. When they fail, we find that in others who become to us surrogate or replacement parents.
When it’s done right, that framework becomes who we are.
Hang on, you might say. Those are my values! That’s my way of thinking! That’s my way of voting! That’s my attitude to people in need! That’s my way to handle money, to deal with stress, to handle betrayal, to deal with failure or defeat.
[Buzzing noise] Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. We learn it. We learn it all. And the earliest learning comes from our primary caregiver, and our primary caregiver is usually our mom. [Pause]
Now we may stray. We may make some unbelievably dumb choices that our mother would never have approved of. We do that because we don’t remain children. We grow up and we grow beyond being led by the hand by the one that bore us.
And we make choices often to distinguish ourselves from our parents, to prove to ourselves that we’re our own people. Sometimes those are just necessary calls we make. Sometimes they’re really dumb. Sometimes they are good.
But we’re profoundly influenced, usually, by our parents. Today’s passage is a general warning about avoiding immoral behavior, but it’s also a good general rule of thumb to follow:
Proverbs 6:20 My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching. 21 Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. 23 For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, NIV
I’ve mentioned here before how one of my earliest memories is my mom saving my life, literally.
Cramped into a VW Van as a 3-year old, after being driven for hours and hours in Mexico, the side door sliding open, me bounding out of the van and running, running, running until my mom screamed my name out loud. Stopping in my tracks, no idea what was wrong.