// Lynette Hagin
THIS MONTH, May 14 is set aside to honor mothers. I was born on Mother's Day. I reminded my mother every year that she received the best Mother's Day present that year and no other present could ever surpass it! She and I both laughed about that. I sure do miss her laugh, but I am sure she is laughing in Heaven.
I believe the most beautiful words a mother can hear are recorded in Proverbs 31:28, "Her children arise up, and call her blessed."
A child was once asked, "Where is your home?" The little boy replied, "Where mother is." There is a special place in the hearts of children for their mothers.
The most powerful influence in a child's life is his or her mother. This places an awesome responsibility on mothers to prepare their children for success in life. I would like to give you a few guidelines to help you do that.
First and foremost, acquaint your children with the Heavenly Father. The scripture that my parents' instilled in me—"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33)—has been the guiding force of my life.
I am so thankful this principle was emphasized to me over and over again. The repetition constantly reminded me that God must have first place. Many Christians get so wrapped up in their own work and life that they neglect their highest calling—the spiritual development of their children.
It's very important that a child's training begins at birth. Much of the foundation of spiritual and character development is laid during infancy. Fifty percent of a child's character and personality development is formed by age three, and 75 percent by age five. Those startling facts remind us that we must begin early to guide our children in their spiritual and character development.
Take time for family devotions. We had our family devotions every morning before school and read the Faith Food devotional that our ministry publishes. It contains daily confessions, and after making those confessions, we asked our children, "What is something you desire to come to pass in your life?" We encouraged them to make their own personal confession.
Craig was involved in sports and would confess, "I can run fast." Denise had various projects she wanted to come to pass. It was exciting to see their confessions become realities.
Show your children love. Child specialists agree that the need for love in every human being is basic to proper development. A parent's love is more important to a child than wealth, education, or any form of material possession. It is most important when your child is least lovable.
You should never make good behavior a condition for your love. Have you ever heard someone say, "Mother won't love you if you're not good"? A child's willingness to please should never determine parental love.
The God-kind of love is unconditional love. The most important thing is to love your child because they are yours—not because they play the trumpet well or are in the accelerated program at school.
It's unreasonable to demand perfection from your child. Children lose confidence in themselves when they consistently fail to meet their parents' expectation. Don't try to live your unfulfilled dreams through your children by demanding that they excel in an area you regret not applying yourself in. Do not compare children with their siblings. A child who grows up under the shadow of a brilliant sibling has a hard time with their self-image.
Lastly, prepare your children for their roles as adults. The only course on marriage most children take is the one taught at home. Children learn by imitation. Make sure that you are giving them the right thing to imitate. Teach your children how to make good decisions and train them in financial affairs. Believe in your children. Speak positive words into their lives. Remind them that with God they can become a success in life.
When a crisis involving your children comes, look to the Lord for direction. Trust Him to give you the right words to say and the right actions to take that will turn that situation into a victory in their lives.
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
—Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)