As a mother, my job is always changing. What my children need from me as infants changes when they are toddlers. My toddlers needs are different from my little kids needs and my little kids needs are different from my teenagers. What has surprised me the most are what my adult children need.
When my children were little my job as mother was all consuming. They needed me for everything. I fed them, I taught them and I discipled them. I read stories to them and prayed with them and tucked them into bed. I thought they would be little forever and that I would spend the rest of my days wiping noses and drying tears. Suddenly, they were big. As their world began to expand, I became their touchstone, their sounding board. Their questions began to get "bigger" and their observations more discerning. They didn't need my constant physical attention, however they needed much more of my emotional energy. They needed me to see them and hear them - not what they seemed to be on the outside, but who they really were, on the inside. They needed me to encourage them and to chastise them. They needed me to constantly turn their hearts back to the Way.
And now I have grown children. Maid Elizabeth and I are close - we talk about everything - hopes, dreams, disappointments. We share our laughter as easily as we share our tears. Master Hand Grenade, however, has taken me by surprise. He has taught me so much about being a mother. Master Hand Grenade has taught me that young men need a woman in their life. He seeks me out to talk about life's challenges and disappointments. He wants my opinion about the qualities to look for in a wife. He wants to know what I think about the music that he likes and the movies he watches. Sometimes, he doesn't want my opinion at all - he just wants to talk, to vent, to connect.
And Master Hand Grenade is not alone. Most of the young men I know, whether the sons of friends or the checkers at the grocery store, want the input, the encouragement of a woman. A few weeks ago as Miss Serenity and I were checking out at the grocery store, the young checker (he was about 24) began talking. He told me that this is not were he thought he would be at this point in his life. He said that he had gone to school and had hoped he would be a mechanic somewhere but he hadn't been able to get a job. He said he had talked to the manager at the mechanics shop across the road, but he hadn't gotten back to him. I asked him if he has a resume (which he didn't) and encouraged him to make one. I told him to visit the shop about once a week and enquire about a job (that would let them know that he was serious). I told him to make sure that he did the best job he could while working at the grocery store so that his employers could give him the very best recommendation. That young man spent about 15 minutes talking - about his life, his future, his dreams.
Miss Serenity was a little put out. "You are my Mom, not his!" She stated rather vehemently. "He can't have you!". In that moment, I understood Master Hand Grenade a little bit better. As a young man, he needed feminine input, counsel - just as the checker in the grocery store had. He needed a mother. I've found that my job doesn't stop when my children are grown - it's just getting started.
As I pondered the relationship between young adult men and their mothers, I thought of King Lemuel and the prophecy of his mother. When King Lemuel was young (probably about Master Hand Grenade's age) his mother spoke into his life. She gave of her wisdom to encourage and direct her son. Mothers, let us continue in our feminine duty and strengthen and encourage all of the men God has given us.
This is how I will instruct my son - as King Lemuel's mother instructed him....
The words of King Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and please the cause of the poor and needy.
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.