The Majesty of Motherhood
By Karen Andreola
Your Coronation DayA less-talked-about detail about the godly woman is tucked away in Proverbs thirty-one. Here we learn that her clothing is of fine linen and she actually wears the color purple. For centuries this once hard-to-come-by and expensive fabric dye has been associated with royalty. And it is this rich color that belongs to the godly homemaker. Purple is representative of the majesty of motherhood, it represents her high calling. Dear mother, you are the queen of your household. The day your first baby was placed in your arms was your coronation day. Yes, while you were gazing into the face of your precious one, a little one so fresh from heaven, you were crowned queen. You were crowned with authority by the Almighty God.
Authority in the Home Atmosphere
In America we are privileged to live in a democratic republic. We are saturated with the democratic way of thinking. Therefore it isn't surprising when the notion of social equality slips into the home, where it doesn't belong. There is a "temptation of ease" in the household when a weary mother is ever so much with her children. That temptation is to be "buddy-buddy" or "palsy-walsy" in too many circumstances. In this case Mother may succumb to the whims, wants and whines of her children as the presence of her authority dwindles or fades away, blending into the background kitchen wallpaper. One good fruit of home education is the close relationship that develops between mother and child. It is valuable and necessary for a loving, warm, home atmosphere. Rules only, without relationship, invite rebellion. But let's look at the flip side. Relationship only, without rules (to be obeyed, promptly and without complaint) promotes disorder and friction. A child's regular outspoken, soft-spoken or unspoken, "But I don't want to . . ." is a symptom of a household that is democratic.
While reading the remarkable writings of the Victorian Christian and British educator, Miss Charlotte Mason, I came to see more clearly that a very different form of government is to be established in the home. The government of the family is to be an absolute monarchy. The domestic rulers are precisely as follows: Father is king and Mother is queen.
To Serve and Be Served, To Love and Be Loved
At the time of the year 2000 celebrations a vast majority of people voted Queen Elizabeth 1st of England a favorite person of the millennium. I happened to be reading aloud to my children from Queen Elizabeth and the Spanish Armada by Frances Winwar. When I got to the following sentences I jotted them down. “It is not easy to be queen. But she was a queen, and so always she must think first for her country and her people, before she thought of herself.” Isn’t this what a loving and diligent mother does everyday as she serves the children of her realm in all the hundreds of little duties she carries out minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day?
Children also have a part to play in this mini kingdom of the home. A good queen expects her subjects to, in turn, faithfully serve her. Because Miss Charlotte Mason was a British educator it seems apropos that she would be better familiar with the characteristics of royalty from her country’s heritage. She said, "It is good for the children to faithfully serve, honor, and humbly obey their natural rulers. Only at home can children be trained in the chivalrous temper of proud submission and dignified obedience; and if the parents do not inspire and foster deference, reverence, and loyalty, how shall these crowning graces of character thrive in a hard and emulous world?"
Mothers Are to Reflect the Majesty of God
The chief business of the parent is to be an inspirer. And a mother must reflect the majesty of God. Charlotte Mason says, "We have not only to fulfill His counsels regarding children, but to represent His Person. We parents are as God to the little child; and yet a more constraining thought, God is to him what his parents are; he has not power to conceive a greater and lovelier personality than that of the royal heads of his home; he makes his first approach to the Infinite through them."
In our present American secular society, it seems too many parents have abdicated the throne. Mothers have left the home, their place of ladyship and leadership, because they can find little value, and thus little satisfaction, in homemaking or home teaching. Passively parents allow others (experts or institutions or peers) to have a stronger influence on their children - a stronger influence than home. Yet parents have been given a charge to train up their children and there is a remnant of those who reign. They understand that it is not an option to either lay aside or to sink under the burden of the honor God has laid upon them.
A Strong Home Influences Society
Mothers who recognize the value of homemaking see that there is an art to it. A mother builds a happy home brick by brick, laid upon strong moral principles. From her home the majesty of her inspiring leadership has a spiral affect. Like a pebble dropped in a pond it spirals outward in ever widening circles. Rather than society influencing the home it ought to be the Christian home influencing society. Righteousness brings beauty of character. Character creates harmony in the home. Harmony in the home fosters order to civilization. This is what makes peace on earth. Isn’t this what is meant by “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world?”
Therefore, let us remember our position, fulfilling our office of queen with a kind of friendly dignity. It is a noble, high, important and sometimes difficult position - "uneasy lies the head that wears a crown," even if it is the natural crown of motherhood. But God will guide our steps if we keep our eyes on He who appointed us. And we will find joy within the authoritative yet loving relationship we were meant to establish with our children.
Passages by Miss Charlotte Mason are from her books, Parents and Children and School Education .
Homeschool Highlights provides homeschooling resources for home schooling parents and students. This site is hosted by Dean and Karen Andreola, noted authors who brought to light the works of Charlotte Mason. They also review "living books" and homeschool curriculum materials for Rainbow Resource Center.
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