Modeling Mom



My mother pretty much raised us eight kids by herself because Dad spent most of those years in and out of the hospital.  That meant Mom was really busy.


Barely eye-level with the table, I observed her kneading bread and rolling out pie crust.  I watched my mom can peaches, raspberries, and applesauce.  I held my nose when she singed freshly-plucked chickens, and butchered them for flying. 


On hands and knees, in her zip-up-the-front housedress, my mother scrubbed the linoleum kitchen floor.   


In the evening, she read Bible stories to us, and listened to our prayers.  Many nights, from my bed I heard the rhythmic whirring of her sewing machine, afterward. 


On Sundays, my mother managed to get us all to church.  Regularly.  We walked, about nine blocks, pushing the youngest children and the babies in the baby buggy. 


In the church balcony, surrounded by squirming children, my mother balanced a hymnal and sang “Holy, Holy, Holy,” with the choir as it walked below us, up the center aisle toward the loft. 


I think it seemed easier for my mother to do many tasks herself, rather than take the time to train us.  But I learned a lot anyway, just by watching.  I first realized this right after I got married, when I discovered I knew how to cut up a frying chicken.  I found I could do a whole lot that I can’t remember my mother ever trying to teach me.  She just modeled it. 


This Mother’s Day, I’m not only thinking about my mother; I’m looking at myself.  And other mothers.  And I wonder.  What is the legacy we’re modeling for our children?  What are our children learning from us,  just by observation?



Adapted from my newspaper column, published Wednesday, May 9, 2001



7 Responses

  1. I loved reading about your momma and what you learned from her by watching her. And thank you for the questions you posed at the end…I think about these all of the time and hope I leave a legacy that delights the Lord! Happy Mother’s Day, Grace!

  2. your mommy is amazing!! moms who love the Lord and serve Him quietly, esp in their families, are the best role models in the world!

  3. A wonderful tribute!! You mother seems like a God fearing compassionate teacher with love to spare.

    How divine!

    God bless-

  4. I loved hearing about your mom and you growing up. i discovered we have another thing in common..I too learned how to cut up a chicken growing up. Your mom and my grandma (mom’s mom) also sounded similiar…

  5. My mom seldom entered a church’s door. Religion wasn’t my parents’ thing. Yet my mom was an encourager extraordinaire. She could pat me on the back when I was down, rub my boo-boo’s and dry my eyes while frying chicken, cutting potatoes and baking a pie. She’s quite a woman…and still going at 85 years of age. What a woman!

  6. happy mother’s day! 😀

  7. Your mom sounds like a very strong lady! What a blessing for you and your siblings! Happy Mother’s Day!

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