|The Three C’s of Motherhood
by Marina and George Slayton
Loneliness is a growing problem in the United States. This is having an impact on moms. I believe that the increasing desire for celebrity stems in part from this feeling of isolation and feeling invisible in our society. Individuals feel invisible because they feel uncared for.
The fact that many of us work outside the home contributes to the fact that we don’t necessarily have the channels of support from other moms that were so readily available in prior generations. Without communication, without community, we are left with the feeling of being unanchored to communal wisdom and isolated in our decision-making process. These are very serious issues for moms as we are all in real need of wise advice, encouragement, and counsel.
The Three C’s of Motherhood
In Deuteronomy 6:6-7 God stresses the importance of communicating with our children:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Communication is crucial, as any counselor will tell you; there can be no excuses when we choose to stop communicating with our family members. Women are blessed because most of us love to communicate and build relationships. However, it is as crucial to listen as it is to speak in communication, and this is especially true with our growing kids.
As parents, we need to build relationships filled with communication and trust. We want our children, even when they are adults, to turn to us for counsel. They will not do so if they feel rejected or if they feel we are not trustworthy or really don’t care that much.
Our children need to know that when they confess their failings to us we are listening first, and we will then act according to our great love and respect for them.
It is up to you as the parent to make sure that your children are not afraid of you and your judgment. Respecting your parental authority is vital, but if that respect turns into fear then you will have serious problems communicating with your children.
2. Collective Wisdom
I know most women don’t think they know it all in terms of wisdom; most of us, however, think that we should know it all. At least we feel we should have everything under control, which makes us shy away from asking advice and seeking counsel. In direct and honest conversations, we have to humble ourselves and admit things are not perfect. When that relates to our children, it is particularly painful. Being humble is essential as we seek advice and counsel. In the face of the brokenness in my life, it has been wise counsel that many times put me back on the path of grace.
In the book of Proverbs there are many verses that speak to the benefits that flow from collective wisdom such as:
Wisdom is found in those who take advice. — Proverbs 13:10
Not only wisdom, but even victory comes from the counsel of many. I have been blessed with friends who are great mothers. I am thankful to have deeply spiritual friends who pray with me in the tough times and point me in the right direction. Remember this when you are looking for direction:
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. — Proverbs 15:22
Do you have a group of women who speak into your life and the life of your family? Are you giving permission to allow these women to be “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15)? Have you built a community around your family that can support you through the tough times? It is vital to have the support of those who have gone before us, and in turn, we can help those who will come after us.
Moms, dads, and their children form their own little community, but it is vital that we are connected to the larger community around us. It takes hard work for many of us to build communities of support around us. If we come from loving extended families, we will be blessed with a built-in support system from which we will draw strength our entire lives.
We must find community if we are to benefit from the collective wisdom we need to be the best moms we can be. Obviously jobs are an important source of friendships, as are athletic programs (our own and our kids’), schools, and volunteer positions. While all this may seem obvious, research tells us that a growing portion of our population is very lonely. Community building is essential to human joy, and as moms we are in a critical position as community builders.
One of the beauties of reading the Word of God is that we are entering the community of those who have lived out their lives in the pursuit of the Lord. The Lord brings us into His community and speaks freshly into our lives via His Word. We need that as mothers, and as women. Do not forsake the community of the Word — it will feed you, it will surprise you, and it will challenge you with a continually new way of seeing the world.
The Bible warns us that people who isolate themselves are in danger of selfishness and foolishness. As it is written in Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV):
A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.
Today this growing trend of isolated and lonely adults can be fatal to families, for none of us was meant to be alone.
Ultimately, the three Cs of motherhood are about the ministry of relationships and how we can build them to be healthy and vibrant. Jesus wants us to prioritize relationships because that is what He did in His ministry on earth, and He continues to do so from His throne in heaven. He was not only the Christ, Jesus was also the first Christian. He lived out His life on earth to show us how it’s done.
As moms, the ministry of Jesus is such a comfort, because in a way, He came to mother His people:
How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. — Matthew 23:37
Let us therefore continue our motherly ministry to our families and our communities, knowing the Lord is with us in this good work.
Excerpted with permission from Be the Best Mom You Can Be by Marina and Gregory W. Slayton, copyright Nelson Books, 2015.