Mother's Day was a wonderful day at our house! After weeks of anticipation, the children were so excited to give me their handmade gifts. The suspense was killing 4-year-old Mary Ashley, who had told me for weeks that she had a special present for me. "Do you want to know what it is?" she would whisper excitedly. I would remind her that it was supposed to be a surprise, but in a burst of emotion the words would come tumbling out: "OK, I'll just tell you. I made you a card that's a basket, and I put real flowers in it! My teacher let us pick what colors to use, and I got pink, then yellow, then white." We had this same conversation many times leading up to the big day! One of the gifts Christian gave me was a book he made in kindergarten. He illustrated the pages and filled in the blanks. His answers brought tears to my eyes:
This is my mom.
She is so nice.
My mom is as pretty as a princess.
My mom really loves my famaly.
My mom and I like to cook.
My mom is the best because she is the nicest person I have
My mom cooks the best cookies.
I love you Mom!
Looking over my Mother's Day gifts, I thought about the other women in my children's lives: their teachers. The women who secretly photograph my children, lovingly trace their hand prints, and patiently help them print "Happy Mother's Day!" on handmade cards. Thank you. You should know that the little gifts you send home in dimpled hands become priceless treasures when they reach a mother's hands. Because of your thoughtfulness, Mother's Day is full of cherished moments between mother and child. We mommies tuck bookmarks into Bibles, save pictures in scrapbooks and display painted clay pots, hoping one day to show them to our children's children.
But I also want you to know that as much as I appreciate the presents you send me, I appreciate even more the gifts you give my children each day. You give freely of your time, energy and creativity, and one day your investment will pay off in ways you may never know. So as you set aside time in your lesson plans for Mother's Day preparations, please realize that in doing so you increase my children's desire to honor their parents (Deuteronomy 5:16). As you encourage them to help Mom on her special day by being kind to their siblings and doing extra chores, you cultivate in them a spirit of helpfulness that will serve them throughout life -- especially when they become husbands, wives and parents themselves (1 Peter3:1-9). And as you send them home with handmade treasures in their hands, you inspire them to go into the world with a desire to bless others in their hearts (Galatians 5:13).
Thank you, Teacher. Whether in school or in Bible class, you have a profound influence on my child. You are helping shape my child into an adult who is compassionate, responsible and capable. In her Christian Woman article "Thank You, Teacher," author Andy Skidmore reminds teachers of their unique influence: "As their teachers, you have touched our children's lives in ways we never could. You have said the same things to them that we have said; yet they have listened to you with different minds. You have supported us as parents, and you have changed our children forever. As long as they live, they will talk about the teachers they had ... ." (p. 63, May/June 2003). So today I want to say thank you, Teacher, for being the other woman in my child's life. I couldn't do it without you.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).