By Pastor Nate Bjorge, Faith Lutheran Church, Little Falls
Baltimore mom Toya Graham gained notoriety on April 27 after she was filmed confronting her 16-year-old son, Michael Singleton, who decided to participate in the violent protest that day instead of obeying her order to go straight home after school. Not everyone agrees with her method of disciplining her child, but she did so out of her concern and love for her son.
In an interview Michael responded by saying, “I understand how much my mama really cares about me.”
Police Commissioner Anthony Batts also thanked her and remarked, “I wish I had more parents that took charge of their kids out there tonight.”
We live in a culture where we are encouraged to be tolerant toward every belief, attitude and behavior. Toya has a different take. She said, “I’m a no-tolerant mother. I was angry. I was shocked, because you never want to see your child out there doing that.” It is because of her love for her children that she is unwilling to tolerate their participation in destructive behavior.
Think how different our society would be if all parents were no-tolerant parents when it comes to bad behavior.
Dr. Val Farmer, clinical psychologist and syndicated columnist, wrote “the greatest challenge to our society is the breakdown of values and family life caused by the decline of religion and religious standards of conduct.” www.valfarmer.com
He also lists some benefits that religion (he is a Christian) brings to society:
•It gives people hope, strength and meaning to their struggles in life;
•It teaches self-restraint in avoiding high risk, self-destructive behaviors;
•It teaches the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family as the building blocks of society;
•It helps us have healthier and happier lives; and
•It supports parents in teaching principles and values to children. This teaches children to accept responsibility and to grow into maturity as self-reliant and compassionate human beings.
More often than not, it is mothers who teach and model Christian values. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying “No one is poor who has had a godly mother.”
Proverbs 31 describes these women, “They are clothed in strength and dignity, they speak wisdom and teach kindness; They look well to the ways of their households; whose children rise up and call them blessed; whose husbands also praise them. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but the women who fear the Lord are to be praised.”
This Sunday we honor motherhood. Of course people of faith know that because of God’s command every day we are to “honor our father and our mother.” But hopefully on this day we will intentionally take time to remember and to recognize the moms who have dedicated their lives to raising their children.
To all of those “no-tolerant mothers” we say thanks and pray that you will be encouraged for all of your hard work and sacrifice in teaching your children to be morally responsible and productive members of society. Jesus, a Jewish man, goes against the cultural standards and begins talking with her, a Samaritan woman, in a way that demonstrated genuine love.
He impacted her in a way that caused her to go back to her neighbors and spread his message of love.
I am thrilled to be among hundreds that will be loving our neighbors during the “Day of Caring.” I also want to encourage you to look for ways to care for your neighbor every day.