Thursday, October 6, 2011

Learning Through Motherhood

I was reviewing some old documents and came across this very brief summary I wrote about a discussion I led during 2007 on the topic of Motherhood: A Sacred Journey. I was one of four presenters; my section concentrated on lessons learned through child rearing and through studying the biblical story of Rachel and Leah. It was interactive and each session was tailored to the audience. My individual journey is what I speak on below; hopefully you will gain a little more insight about me through these words.

I am 38 years old and I am the mother of two children – a 17 year old daughter and an 8 year old son. We are given the responsibility to care for our children; they need the basics - nurturing, feeding, clothing, shelter, education, etc.  But through our children we are given the opportunity to learn so much about ourselves and the world around us.  Each child brings a different lesson and a different leg of our journey.

Being the mother of a girl child has forced me to evaluate how I view myself and to make adjustments where needed. I realized that behaviors or traits that I wanted to instill had to be operating in my life as a pattern for her. Some tools that help me prepare myself as a woman and a mother include: being still, praying and listening to what God has to say; anointing myself; offering my body as a living sacrifice; praising God always, through all situations; reading and studying the word of God.  The bible provides many examples of sisters whose lives we can connect with and learn from.  For instance, Rachel and Leah (whose stories are told in Genesis 29-33) are true examples of mothering and nation building.  They, along with their maidservants, Zilpah & Bilhah, gave birth to the twelve tribes of Israel, the sons of Jacob.  These sisters had conflicts with each other, yet they were able to grow beyond their envy and competitiveness to the point where they were able to see their common ground.  Rachel and Leah understood that they were both being treated unfairly by their father.  It is possible that their relationship with each other was strained because they were raised that way and pitted against each other, not realizing that they were pawns; much like our enslaved ancestors who were trained to distrust each other based on differences such as age, sex, and complexion, to name a few.  Leah & Rachel decided to put aside their differences and agreed to follow Jacob wherever his God led them. The essential lessons surrounding Leah & Rachel are the reasons we gather, at such a time as this. We are all in this together.  How do we celebrate our essence as women and encourage our sisters at the same time? How do we honor our men, acknowledge their leadership, put aside our differences and come together for the betterment of our families and communities?

My son has brought me to another aspect of my journey. I had to come to terms with the fact that as descendants of an enslaved people, our notions of parenting are warped.  Much of what we think of as normal comes from a reaction to how we have to survive living as an oppressed people. What I perceived as my normal inclination to protect my son, because I know the dangers that await our Black male children in this society, is really not the natural order.  Men are made to cover and protect women and children.  Our male children need to be taught this from a young age and reared for their role as leader and priest of their home.  God has blessed us with partners in parenting, our children’s fathers. We have a joint responsibility to raise our children, whether we live in the same home or not. Men and women each have a unique perspective and the two together help to create healthy and whole individuals.

Motherhood is just one part of my whole journey but it is a piece that has helped to transform me from an immature girl into a virtuous woman.


  1. Ok, so I'm still trying to figure out how to post on here. I think I need a tutorial (-:
    Decatur Mama

  2. hehehe ... well it seems you got a comment through ... in the drop down menu next to "comment as" there is an option just above "anonymous" (which you used here) that says "name/URL" ... choose that and you can just type your name & email address (only the name will show on the post" ... or if you have one of the accounts listed, you can choose that option & when you sign it your name will be inserted.

  3. My previous comment didn't post either! =( thank you for this post. We learn a lot about ourselves through our children. Sometimes we just don't realize it.

  4. Ticka, you are welcome - thanks for passing through!

  5. I'm still new at this parenting stuff, and though I think I'm doing a great job, I'd hate for it to not be the fact (end result) a decade or two from now.

  6. Guich - the bottom line is we can only do the best we can; if along the way you find you need to change, roll with it. As your child ages, I think it helps to be (sort of) transparent meaning that you let them know when you think you could have done better - keep a dialogue going - and continue doing the best you know how. I'm pretty sure you are doing a great job!