Opinion

Honor women not just on Mother’s Day

Two moms were reminiscing about Mother’s Day while standing at the latte stand. One carried a child’s raincoat and the other carried an armload of kids’ toys. Both looked tired.

The first one asked: “So, Mary, if you had to do it all over again, would you have kids?”

Mary slumped slightly, under the weight of the question. She knit her eyebrows thoughtfully, and replied: “Yeah, just not the same kids.”

I turned to keep from laughing.

Last Sunday’s Mother’s Day may have been bitter-sweet, but still the day is one of the most important celebrations of the year. In that tiny window of time – 24 short hours – the women in your life were watching and waiting to see your best. They wanted to know if you would honor and love them.

Of course, it’s not the day itself that was important so much as the commitment behind the day. What matters is the ongoing and daily commitment to honor the women in your life.

Why is respect for your mom so important?

In many ways the success of a community rises and falls with its consistent and daily commitment to respect mothers, grandmothers, and all women, generally.

Respect for women is a barometer of the health of a community. Let me share a few reasons that I think this:

-Where women are highly-regarded, you can be sure that all people are highly regarded — and that is the definition of a strong and healthy community.

-Where women are second-class citizens, you will likely find many correlated social issues. You’ve seen the world news; you know what I mean.

-Where moms are highly regarded you will find happier children who perform better in school. In the household where a dad honors his wife, the children constantly know that peace and safety surround them. They worry less about their future. Safety and peace — well, that’s part of the definition of a healthy and happy home and community.

-When daughters and sons know a loving father stands alongside, they are empowered to face their future with courage and enthusiasm.

-Honor and respect are choices. Honoring and respecting the woman who gave you life and raised you is an acknowledgement of  all the effort and love given to you.

-Honor and respect reflect maturity. When you love, you don’t need to compete; instead, you cooperate and complement and your combined strengths enhance your individual strengths. This too makes for a stronger family.

As a pastor I often have the opportunity to remind people that the Bible says to honor your father and mother so that you will live long in the promised land (Exodus 20). Honor and respect for parents create stability and durability and an appropriate humility as we grow to adulthood and take our places in the community. God knew that honoring parents is a cornerstone of culture.

Honoring your mother means you have the humility to learn from the wisdom of the past. You take her seriously; you learn from her.

LEARN TO HONOR

Years ago my wife and I were at a restaurant and I was calculating how little I could tip the waitress. Maybe I could give her a dime less and still not look cheap. My wife, reading my mind, shook her head sadly and remarked: “You know, Dave, women don’t like men who are cheap. Just because you are poor doesn’t mean you need to be cheap.” That was a life-changer for me; my cheapness was dishonoring to the waitress, to my wife and to me.

Generosity — with your tip and with your respect — shows you to be a person of substance and character. More importantly, generosity with a tip, a kind word, holding a door, helping take a grocery cart to the store for a woman — all of this shows that an honorable man respects women, and the community is improved because of it.

You may not be married or have a mom to honor. So what! There are many people to honor. Good character is always deserving of abundant respect.  Allow no excuses to interfere with honoring the women in your life.

As I wiped the latte foam off my nose, and turned away from the counter, the first woman laughed, and then Mary laughed as well.I had the feeling that — no matter what Mary said aloud — Mary would do it all over again with the same kids. Down inside, she loves her kids and her life.

 

David Snapper is pastor of Anchor of Hope Christian Reformed Church in Silverdale.

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