29 May 2014

On Motherhood :: Chasing the Caterpillar

I've been reading a book for the past few months called Bringing Up Boys. Some of the insight and wisdom in it has been invaluable. Most recently the chapter Chasing the Caterpillar really made me think...

THE GREAT FRENCH naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre once conducted a fascinating experiment with processionary caterpillars, so called because they tend to march in unison. He lined them around the edge of a flower pot then monitored them carefully as they marched in a circle. At the end of the third day, he placed some pine needles, which is the favourite food of caterpillars, in the center of the pot. They continued walking for four more days without breaking rank. Finally, one at a time, they rolled over and died of starvation, just inches from their ideal food source.

These furry little creatures remind me in some ways of today's moms. Most of them are trudging around in circles from morning to night, exhausted and harried, wondering how int he world they can get everything done. Many are employed full-time while also taking care of families, chauffeuring kids, fixing meals, cleaning the house, and trying desperately to maintain their marriages, friendships, family relationships, and spiritual commitments. It is a backbreaking load. Sadly, this overcommitted and breathless way of life, which I call "routine panic," characterizes the vast majority of people in Western nations.

Busyness and family isolation aren't new problems, of course. Moms and dad have struggled to control the pressures of living since World War II, but their approach has changed. Most mothers in the fifties and early sixties gave priority to their families, no matter what the cost. That's why so many of them stayed at home full-time to care for their children. They also served as "managers" of the home, keeping everything orderly and clean. With the arrival of the sexual revolution, however, mothers with more liberal perspectives began to reconsider their options.

... many women must work outside the home today, whether for financial or emotional reasons. Still, I am here to express in the strongest possible terms the belief that mothers are just as necessary to healthy child development as they have ever been and that kids cannot raise themselves. They require enormous amounts of time and energy throughout childhood. Any effort to become liberated from them will be done a the children's expense.

Your task as a mother, in conjunction with your husband, is to build a man out of the raw materials available in this delightful little boy, stone upon stone. Never assume for a moment that you can "do your own thing" without serious consequences for him and his sister. I believe this task must be your highest priority for a period of time. It will not always be required of you. Before you know it, that child at your feet will become a young man who will pack his bags and take his first halting steps into the adult world. Then it will be your turn... you should have decades of health and vigor left to invest in whatever God calls you to do. But for now, there is a higher calling. I feel obligated to tell you this, whether my words are popular or not. Raising children who have been loaned to us for a brief moment outranks every other responsibility. Besides living by that priority when kids are small will produce the greatest rewards at maturity.

I'll let Dobson's words speak for themselves. They gave me a lot to think about and put a word picture to the things i see going around me.

Precious mom, are you chasing the caterpillar? May God give you the grace and wisdom to choose what is best and what is eternal for the good of your family and His kingdom.

You are doing the #worldstoughtestjob. If you haven't seen this video, I'm sure it will put a smile on your face...

Thought i'd end by sharing this...
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
- Jesus
{Matthew 11:28}