Posted by: howvoicebegan | 30/05/2011

Titus 2:4

I thought I’d save my “Mother’s Day” post for a later time, as I didn’t want to be lost in the crowd of appreciation a couple of weekends ago.

As a child, I remembered hearing from many people that one day I’ll act just like my mother. Sometimes this scared me (and still does). I distinctly remember my grandmother and mother dragging me on those boring antique shopping trips, which is really just visiting stores filled with musty junk, and my mom’s response to my complaining: “Don’t worry. I used to dislike antique shopping, and now I like it. One day you’ll enjoy it, too. We all grow up to be like our moms.” What I feared even more than the shopping trips was the thought that one day I’d actually like it. So far I have been spared.

Mom keeps a watchful eye in the background

There are some things that Mom taught me that are useful but non-important, such as thinking of loading a dishwasher as a 3D puzzle, and every dish has its perfect spot to maximize space (a process lost on the male mind). Or how to decorate a Christmas tree in harmonious balance of colors, shapes, and spacing of ornaments. Or how to braid hair.

But the important things were never sit-down lessons, how-to instructions, or any explanations. They were actions that were tucked away in my brain to be used years later, starting in Mamelodi.
In childhood, having appointments or outings with friends meant that Mom drove me around; it was done without question because it was simply what you do as a mom. As a child I would think about it and decide, knowing that I was being selfish, that I wouldn’t want to do that as a mom. I’d make my children schedule their lives around mine.
But, maturity changes you, and now I’m the one taking time off work to drive children to appointments, waking up early for their soccer games, and spending time to ice swollen ankles. I don’t think about it until I walk away, hearing Grandma’s or Mom’s Friend’s voice in my head, “You’re going to be just like your mother.”

Mom never taught me how to use a polygraph but she taught me how to detect and handle lying. She didn’t teach me Emily Post’s etiquette for conversation, but she taught me how to listen to a child’s seemingly trivial woes. She never taught me First Aid, but she taught me how to show concern for the little cuts and scrapes.

And it's already being passed down to the next generation... one of our girls playing with a child in the Disabled Centre

I believe that the spiritual gift of service is held largely in the hands of mothers. To be a mother IS to understand how to serve. We hear the phrase, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” but I think it’s more accurate to say, “If nobody ain’t happy, Momma ain’t happy.” Mothers feel fulfilled when their household is healthy and satisfied. Whether I wanted it or not, Mom taught me to put off my own happiness for those who depend on us for their own wants and needs.

A mother teaches what she knows how to do best: to love their children (Titus 2:4).



  1. Thanks, Leslie, for the great tribute to your mom and for sharing these thoughts with us. Truly moving and inspiring one to greater service.

    I try that 3D puzzle, but then just turn it over to Carol to rearrange things–she has the ability! I’m challenged!

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