I’m not a fussy mom when it comes to holidays, but many moms feel they shouldn’t have to ask their kids to remember Mother’s Day or remind their children to acknowledge them. I understand that. No one wants to beg to be told they are valuable and lovable. I used to feel the same way, until I realized my sons hadn’t been taught to do those things and had no real understanding of why it was important. Lucky for them, I used a holiday that’s geared to be “all about me” to make it “all about them.”
Mother’s Day Boot Camp began many years ago when my sons were very small. Instead of moping around feeling sorry for myself that no husband was around to take them shopping or demand they leave me alone for an uninterrupted nap, I elected to teach them how to honor me (and other important women in their lives) on Mother’s Day.
Here are a few intentional lessons. Perhaps this year, you’ve got a little training to do with your troops too!
1. Train them to honor with words. I make sure they hear me say kind words about my mom. They listen as I make the phone call to tell my mom I love her. We have conversations that include questions such as, “Did you notice how I showed respect to my mom with my words?” and “What are a couple of ways you’re thankful God has put us together as mother and child?” Leading them to verbally show honor trains them to know what it is.
2. Train them to honor with actions. Before Mother’s Day, I give my kids a list of tasks they could perform that would bless me. It eliminates guessing, and over time they’ll learn to come up with actions on their own. Fold clothes, help me in the garden, wash my car, or take care of a younger sibling for the day are some of the items on the list.
3. Train them to honor with gifts. Spending money and giving gifts are never the emphasis on Mother’s Day, but I do think it’s healthy for kids to learn to give, however small it may be. I cherish the homemade gifts I’ve received over the years from my younger kids. Now that my sons are older, I tell them something specific I’d like when they ask. That often ensures I get the hanging flower basket I’ve had my eye on all spring, and it makes them feel good to see me graciously accept a heartfelt gift.
4. Train them to honor with time. As kids get older, it’s harder to get time with them. On Mother’s Day I let my boys know I’d like to have dinner together or spend the day doing something fun. Fussing about wanting to be elsewhere is not tolerated. I am their mother. I ask for time with them and train them to honor people they love with a willing heart and sacrifice of their calendar.
Moms, we don’t have to dismiss this holiday because there’s not a dad around to orchestrate Mother’s Day activities. Instead, take this opportunity to train your sons and daughters to show you a little extra love on this day in a God-honoring way. Your efforts to do so will have a lasting impact as they grow up and extend this honor to their spouses, and equally important, as they train their children to honor mom.
About Kim Heinecke
Kim Heinecke wants to live in a world where children listen to the advice of their mothers without question. As a former single mom she’s been encouraging women using her life experiences in parenting, growing in the Word of God and everything in between. When she’s not negotiating with a teenager or wrestling a pre-schooler, you can find her camping in the family RV or pretending to understand sports with her husband and four sons. Read more from Kim at www.TheMomExperiment.com.