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Wise mothers have a way with words

Dr. David L. Chancey's picture

Two young children were talking with each other about “parent problems.” One complained, “First, they teach you to talk, then they teach you to walk, and as soon as you get good at talking and walking, then they tell you to sit down and be quiet.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful for what my mom taught me. I was blessed to be raised in a good home with dedicated parents and am still blessed to have my mother. She has her aches and pains, but still does well as she approaches 85.

My mom was raised on an Upson County farm by sharecropping parents in hard times. They were dirt poor, but didn’t realize it because everybody else was in the same shape. She picked cotton, turned watermelons and did just about everything there was to do on a farm except plow. Her daddy didn’t think his daughters should plow.

This rural rearing shaped a strong work ethic, provided a solid foundation on which to raise four boys, and produced some unique sayings that we grew up with.

Have you ever noticed that devoted mothers seem to have just the right thing to say at just the right moment? Making wise statements is an important part of their job description.

When we were growing up, no matter how much we loved and respected our mother, there were times when we thought, “Mom doesn’t get it. She doesn’t have a clue.”

Then one day, we have kids and find ourselves saying the same stuff to our children. That’s when two realities hit us: my mother really did know what she was talking about, and I’m beginning to sound like my mother.

Her wisdom sank in after all. Do you remember some of the things your mom said during your growing up years?

“Don’t do that. I have eyes in the back of my head.”

“Your mother is always right!”

“It’s the principle of the thing.”

“If everybody else was jumping off a cliff, would you jump off a cliff?”

“If you can’t say anything nice, then just don’t say anything at all.”

“I don’t care what Johnny’s mother is letting him do. I’m not Johnny’s mother.”

“Don’t go outside with your hair wet because you might catch pneumonia.”

My mom had some colorful expressions that she pulled out at strategic moments. If we boys weren’t moving fast enough, she’d say, “You’re slower than pond water going up a hill backwards.”

If we were being especially argumentative, she’d say, “You’d argue with a stop sign and it knocked down.” Every time I see a knocked-down stop sign I think of my mother.

Sometimes my mom would talk to us until “she was blue in the face.” I actually never saw my mom turn blue in the face, but we knew she was getting exasperated.

Mom had certain expectations. If we suffered a cut, we were to wash it promptly and thoroughly. If we didn’t, we might get “lockjaw.” Getting lockjaw used to scare me to death. Before we took a trip, we had to be sure we were wearing clean underwear just in case we had a wreck.

One of the wisest things my mother taught us was to be cautious with whom we ran. “Be careful who your friends are; be careful who you hang around with.” She worked as a secretary for the youth development center and would come home with these sad stories of juveniles who were serving time because they were “guilty by association.”

They didn’t do the crime, but they did the time because they were present when the crime was committed. They were in the wrong crowd. She pleaded with us to not place ourselves in that precarious position.

Mom was simply reflecting the wisdom described in Proverbs 12:26: “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” My Mom was and is a wise woman, and I’m very proud to call her my mother.

Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ga. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road, just past the department of drivers’ services building, and invites you to join them for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. this Sunday. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.

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