In the Bible, you will find these words in Matthew 7:1-2: “Do not judge lest you be judged yourselves. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you.” In view of the continuing debate in our nation over the right or best way to rear children, I wanted to share some thoughts with you that may be of value.
The reason I decided to begin with this passage in Matthew is because I wanted to amplify the word “standard” and how it gives us a basis or justification for the way we do things. Just as a youngster grows up to accept or adopt many of the attitudes and values of his or her parents, we also tend to judge the actions of others in light of our own standards.
If you can accept what I have just said as being true and can also see some tremendous opportunities all around you to help our nation’s youth, I would like to share an article titled, “The Meanest Mother in the World.” I don’t know who wrote this article, and she is not my mother, but after you read it I believe you will see why I wanted to share it with you.
THE MEANEST MOTHER IN THE WORLD
“As a child, I had the meanest mother in the world. She was real mean. When other kids ate candy for breakfast, she made me eat cereal, eggs and toast. When other kids had Coke and candy for lunch, I had to eat a sandwich. As you can guess, my dinner, too, was different from other kids. My mother insisted on knowing where we were and what we were doing. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour that we would be gone for one hour or less. She was real mean. I was ashamed to admit it, but she actually had the nerve to break the child labor laws. She made us work! We had to wash the dishes, make all the beds, learn to cook and all sorts of cruel things. I believe she lay awake at night thinking up mean things for us to do. She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers she was much wiser, and our life became even more unbearable. None of this tooting the horn of a car for us to come running. She embarrassed us to no end by making our dates come to the front door to get us! I forgot to mention, while my friends were dating at the mature age of 12 or 13, my old-fashioned mother refused to let me date until I was 15 or 16. Boy! Was she mean!
“My mother was a complete failure as a mother. None of us have ever been arrested or beaten by a mate. Each of my brothers served his time in the service of his country willingly, not protesting. And whom do we have to blame for the terrible way we turned out? You’re right. Our mean mother. Look at all the things we missed. We never got to take part in a riot, never burned draft cards or got to do a million and one things our friends did. Our mean mother made us grow up into God-fearing, educated, honest adults. Using this as a background, I am trying to raise my children. I stand a little taller and I am filled with pride when my children call me ‘mean’. You see, I thank God that He gave me The Meanest Mother in the World.”
This was written some time ago, but the message it contains still applies today. When we don’t care enough to train or discipline our children in right conduct, honesty, respect for the rights and property of others, and how to perform domestic skills to meet their own needs, we are neglecting our most basic duty as parents. As Henry Ward Beecher once said, “A mother is the child’s schoolroom.” The article you have read is so very true.