It may be proper in this place to notice briefly, the peculiar duties, advantages, and consequent responsibilities of MOTHERS, in regard to the education of their children.
To its mother’s care and instruction, the first years of a child, are almost exclusively committed. She makes upon its infant mind, the first impressions, whether good or bad. She, in a great measure, forms its future character, and, humanly speaking, determines its destiny She observes the budding of its mind, and discovers the earliest developments of its character and disposition, and may mould them as she pleases. Hence, the mother becomes the first object of its knowledge, its affections and its confidence. Her influence is first felt, and her authority first recognised. What a trust is then committed to mothers!
The strong maternal affection peculiarly fits her for the right discharge of her duties. And in this is shown the wisdom of Him who planted that affliction in her bosom, and who requires those duties at her hands. The maternal affection is used in Scripture as a hint emblem of Christ’s love to his Church. ‘Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb! Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.’ Isa. 49:15. This love excites her to the exercise of that patience which is so much required, and so indispensable, in the careful training of her child. She knows no weariness in ministering to its necessities, and in guarding its helplessness. She bears without a murmur, its disquietudes and complaints, and surmounts every obstacle, and readily endures the privation of personal comfort, care and rest, that she may supply its wants, and gratify its desires. What will she not do, and what will she not suffer, for the peace and safety of her little one! Without this natural affection, patience would soon be exhausted, and the flesh soon become weary, and the passions be vented by cruelty or abandonment. Under the influence of religion, this affection is sanctified, regulated, and properly directed. If such be the advantages of a mother, how great must be her responsibilities!
Who doubts a mother’s influence in the formation of the character of her children? Who doubts the peculiar opportunities she has for making good impressions, and forming a proper character? Who doubts the obligation upon her, to embrace these opportunities, and rightly to use them, in raising up a holy seed to serve the Lord? Examples might be mentioned of some of the most distinguished benefactors of mankind, who owe, and have traced, to their mother’s instruction and example, all that has made them both an honour and a blessing to the race. Examples might also be adduced, which would reverse the picture, but establish the same principle, and show that opposite effects may commonly be traced to opposite causes. This strong parental influence is ordained of God, and forms a prominent part of that great instrumentality which he has established in the organization of the family constitution. This influence will, and must, therefore, be felt. It can not be avoided.