Over the past few months we’ve been hearing a lot about first responders, and rightfully so: paramedics and EMTs, firefighters, law enforcement officers, doctors and nurses. All demonstrating how invaluable they are in times of crisis. When tornadoes ripped through parts of our city, utility workers who rapidly arrived to start working to restore power, roofers and those adept at removing downed trees were added to the list. However, I think there’s one group of first responders – a very large group – who don’t get anywhere close to the recognition they deserve.
We’re approaching Mother’s Day, yet another holiday not getting as much attention as usual because of the constant barrage of coronavirus reporting.
But Sunday’s celebration is one we dare not overlook, since millions of moms are true “first responders” that rarely receive the media spotlight.
After observing my wife for decades, and now our four daughters, there’s no question they all deserve being included in the first responder category. Despite social pressures that insist there’s no difference between the genders, any reasonable person must admit that women have a very special affinity for their children. When little ones are sick or injured, more often than not they cry out, “Mommy!” Dad might be there, too, but they know Mom’s more than ready to come and “fix it.”
It's a sad commentary on our society that, for a variety of reasons, so many households are headed by single parents. Because, as Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” And that is just as applicable to raising children as any other endeavor. Parenting is hard work for two people working together; almost impossible for one alone. But single-parent homes are reality, and since moms lead the majority of those, they merit special commendations. Maybe there should be a mothers’ equivalent of the Purple Heart.
Working (sometimes more than one job), keeping the house in order, cooking and cleaning, shepherding their children, helping with schoolwork, transporting their kids here and there. And that’s just before lunch. Wow! “Wonder Woman” has nothing on them.
Regardless of the household status, mothers often are the unsung heroes of our world. And with the pandemic, as schools closed and stay-at-home restrictions were put into place, many moms added “home school teacher” to their already overcrowded resumes. Interchangeable teachers, cooks, clothes washers, nursemaids, entertainers and comforters. Double wow!
During normal times, we can see moms at the mall with two or more children in tow, keeping track of them while seeking out the latest bargains. The fact that the “lost and found” departments aren’t filled with lost kids is a real miracle – and a testament to the devotion and love of mothers. I know, we sometimes see fathers in that role, but we see mothers much more frequently carrying this responsibility. Besides, this post is about moms. Dads can wait their turn.
Writing to followers of Jesus in the ancient city of Thessalonica, the apostle Paul wanted to underscore the depth of care and concern he had for them. So he used an analogy they could all understand: “but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Sound like any moms you know?
In the closing chapter of Proverbs, we read the description of the “Proverbs 31 woman,” probably a composite of the many qualities and virtues possessed by godly wives and mothers. It’s unlikely anyone fits all of these characteristics, but I’ve known a number of women – even in our own family – who have lots of them:
“A wife of noble character who can find?... Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm…works with eager hands…gets up while it’s still dark…sets about her work vigorously…her lamp does not go out at night…speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue…” (Proverbs 31:10-31).
Sounds like a first responder to me. So, as we continue coping with the COVID-19 crisis – hopefully able to move past it soon – I want to give a shout-out to all the moms out there, women whose love, dedication and sacrifice are beyond measure. As the proverb’s last verse says, “Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
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