Monday, April 18, 2011
Making the Case for Mothering Those Not of Our Own
I was sitting in church yesterday...being terribly annoyed. A little boy, age 11, was sitting on my bench making a total scene. He was punching his brother, talking very loudly, standing up, trying to walk along the bench etc. He did not have any parents with him, the missionaries had invited him, and he and his brother showed up. As I watched the helpless Elders try to keep this little guy in his seat..I realized those 19 year old boys had no idea how to help this little boy, but I did. I then had to make the decision, "do I help out, or sit here annoyed that my Sunday was being ruined by a little heathen". This little boy smelled of cigarette smoke, was dirty, obnoxious, rude and a Son of God. This little boy had no training on how to be reverent. He did not have someone at home making sure he was clean and presentable for church, he did not have anyone teaching him how to be polite...he was on his own when it came to a lot of parenting issues. I made the decision to help this guy get through the meeting. Now I am a mother of teenage children, the days of bags full of books and crayons are well behind me, so I had nothing to keep this young man entertained. I asked the Elders to send "Joe" down the bench toward me, they happily agreed. Joe was suspicious of me at first...ready for me to scold him. But when I offered to play a game of tic tac toe with him on the back of my sheet music, he perked right up. We played tic tac toe, I was amazed that nobody had shown him how to win such a simple game, so I did. He was delighted to "beat me". After that we played several games of hangman using words we found from my bible. When we could not figure out the word, we drew clues (anything to extend the game and his attention span). When it was time to sing the closing Hynm he told me "I don't sing, only in my school choir"... "I told him he should try and that he probably had a good voice since he was in the choir". He responded timidly at first, but I as showed him how to read the lines, and continued to tell how good he sounded he sang with gusto. I also explained quickly what we were singing about...he nodded his head and kept trying. When the song was over, he kissed my shoulder and snuggled his head into me for a brief moment. He readily went to Primary and when church was over, he wanted to stay. I am so happy I chose to nurture him instead of judge him. I am so happy I chose to see him as the Savior does, a child full of potential, ready to bloom. After church, I was tired and feeling emotionally empty, but full of gratitude that I was able to help a little one feel better about himself, and find church a fun place he wants to stay. As women we can mother so many in our reach. How many are out there that can use a kind word, or some one on one time. In a time when so many women are abdicating their God given role, the need to Mother those not our own is huge. I hope all of us will reach out more to all the little and big ones around us and nurture them.