This is one of those days where typically we think about our mothers. We review their achievements in our lives and consider what impact their presence or absence has on who we are as humans. If living, they may get the blessing of a gift or meal or some other token of appreciation.
Not me. I’ve often commented how I’m unique.
Me… I’m looking at the measuring stick in Proverbs 31 and critiquing my own parenting skills. As usual, I never quite make the grade.
Why? Let’s see it in a few versions…
She speaks wisely, teaching with gracious love.
She opens her mouth with wisdom. Faithful instruction is on her tongue.
(World English Bible)
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
(New Living Translation)
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
(New Revised Standard Catholic Version)
When she opens her mouth, she speaks wisely; on her tongue is loving instruction.
She speaks wise words. And she teaches others to be kind. (International Children’s)
Okay, so they all pretty much agree on the first criterion: everything I say has to be wise. I’ve been falling short there lately, unless you count sarcasm.
- Please tell me again how dumping five scoops is really good for the fish. And don’t give me any lines about the nitrogen cycle and growing soy… soy?
- You can’t have such an unwise thought as putting the dog in the basket with socks is better for his joints. Especially clean socks… when you didn’t bathe him for three weeks…
- Did you seriously think I wouldn’t notice you didn’t have vegetables in that casserole?!? I might be exhausted, but I’m not blind and I didn’t lose my tongue. And I don’t believe the oven gnome cast a spell to send them to visit another dimension.
- Wait… let me guess. A good fairy is going to come and finish that assignment for you and upload to GoogleDocs. And then your grades will all be perfect.
- Yes, please keep laughing at all the wrong times. *note this is the fifth correction at a non-faith-based public gathering* You will win so many friends and influence so many people to help you.
With just a week’s worth of failures of the first part, do I even need to go into the second part? Why, yes, yes, I do. I’m not feeling like a big enough failure.
The second part is about teaching or instructing. While I make numerous attempts, it doesn’t mean the attempts get noticed.
And then there’s the what am I to teach or give instruction about? Kindness, faithfulness, gracious love… The first set of bullets shows that I don’t live kindness or gracious love. The repetitive nature of my efforts could be argued to be faithfulness in action, or it could be unwise nagging (my kids will vote for nagging).
The problem is the standard society sets for me and the standard I set for myself. Society pretty much expects me to earn the paycheck, do the house, and make sure all my kids are model citizens. And then in a warped part of my mind, I have the words of Christ in Matthew 5:48 to remind me of my goal: So you must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (ICB)
The reality is I can’t, and I will break myself if I try. We all sin. We all fall far short of the goal. In those moments when my failures scream at me the loudest, when I am most anxious about my job performance as a mother, I must remember the words of Isaiah 26:3: You, Lord, give true peace. You give peace to those who depend on you. You give peace to those who trust you. (ICB)