Mother – Jochebed
Exod 2:1-4; 2:8-10; 6:20; Num 26:59
SUMMARY: Amram, a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, his father’s sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron, Moses, and their sister Miriam. When she saw that her second son was a fine child, she hid him for three months because the pharaoh ordered all infants be slaughtered. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket (an ark) for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister, Miriam, stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter found the ark, asked Miriam to call a nurse, and said to Jochebed, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the Jochebed took the child and nursed him. When the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
Mothers recognize when their children are meant for a good and Godly purpose. It takes a certain amount of selflessness to be a mother. Mary, mother of Jesus, and Jochebed, mother of Moses, both recognized the wonderful qualities and value of their sons. Both women faced the obstacle that the boys of their generation were being slaughtered (King Herod for Jesus, and Pharaoh for Moses). While the world was trying to destroy their child, these women did not give up. They trusted God’s mercy and even though their plans were filled with danger, they courageously pushed forward. Their faith, ultimately, changed the world.
Most mothers face obstacles raising their children. Whether you are a single parent or a working mother, you are daily facing challenges. Balancing your time, energy, and efforts can become formidable trials, and often we sacrifice our own self care and interests to meet the needs of our children. Seeking perfection in parenting is the first obstacle. You need to realize that humans are flawed and mistakes teach us lessons. When God gave us free will, he also committed to love us even when we fail. Remember resilience is the outcome of failure and makes us stronger. When we try, try again; we get better and better. All you need to be an effective parent is love. A loving viewpoint of each trial, spurs us onto try harder and preserve. Failure should not make you ashamed. Failure should stimulate you to try again. The Lord loves people that do not give up. However, as parents we have certain tools at our disposal.
The parenting tool box contains certain resources you can learn to draw from to face everyday challenges. You have significant tools at your disposal: communication, modeling, discipline, family traditions, creative problem solving, and faith. When your child looses his or her way, makes a mistake, or chooses the wrong path; take a deep breath and be calm.
Communication is the first tool at you disposal. Listen to your self as you speak to your child. Do your words lift his/her spirit or do they punish? When my daughter spilled her first glass of milk across the table, I will never forget the look of fear that sprang into her eyes. I quickly thought the way I react here will teach her to trust me or fear me. I smiled and said “Whoops, go get a towel from the kitchen and we will clean it up.” Then, I poured her a new glass, not quite as full so that she could handle the glass better. Who made the error? My daughter for spilling the glass of milk; or me for overfilling the glass of milk? Years later when my daughter was drinking alcohol to excess and I feared she would become or was an alcoholic; I sat down with her. I said “I love you. I want you to enjoy your life. I am afraid the amount of alcohol you are drinking is too much. I think that you may be using alcohol to help you deal with problems in your life. I am praying for you to find your way. I want to know is this the life you imagine for yourself?” Then, I listened until she stopped talking. “Would you consider getting outside help to lend us, you and I, a hand in sorting this out?” The first five times, I was not heard. However, one morning when the hangover was bearing down and the vomit was still on the bathroom floor; I tried again. My daughter accepted counseling, learned alternate coping mechanisms, graduated college, and became a black belt in Dos Pares. She now teaches young women self defense. She is a remarkable woman. Today, she tells me the one thing that got through the fog of alcoholism, was that her mother loved her right or wrong. Today at the age of 33 years old, she tells me sometimes she hears my voice in her head guiding her path. Communication is not giving orders and solving problems for your child. As a mother you can not remove every obstacle. Communication consists of awareness, persistence, listening, loving message, allowing choice, and faith in the person.
Modeling the behaviors you want to instill into your child is essential. Praying as a family, attending church, pulling over to the side of the road to let a tailgater pass, acting kindly when the checkout clerk incorrectly charges your purchase, and shoveling the elderly neighbor’s driveway are samples of modeling. Our children watch us constantly. Every day I begin with a cup of coffee (served by my husband) and a prayer, “Dear God, help me be the person that will make my children proud.”
Discipline has evolved over my parenting. I changed from spanking, to time outs, to grounding, to requiring written essays, to prayer and perseverance. My favorite disciplinary method was write down what you did and what I should do about it. I have a two inch binder of these wrongs of my two children. Believe me, the punishments were more creative than I could ever devise. This also provided me with the opportunity to be merciful. When my daughter and her friend skipped school and were caught at the mall, they wrote that they would clean the whole house and miss a party at school. I said “If you clean the kitchen, you can go to the party”. They were so happy they could still go to the party they laughed and had a great time cleaning the kitchen. They never skipped school again. An important component of discipline is to hold your child’s friends to the same standards as your child. Another time, when my daughter’s friend punched her in the nose for something she said about a boyfriend, I grounded her out of our home for 2 weeks or until she apologized. My daughter’s friend was angry and she didn’t apologize for 6 days. Discipline is a standard of behavior that is expected, and helping children to learn to self rule their behavior fosters success.
Family traditions add to the rich benefit of being part of a family. Traditions link us to the past, and create a family identity. As a nurse, I often had to work on holidays or birthdays, so I often moved the days to my convenience. As my children aged they opposed the moving of holidays, wanting to share the day with the rest of the world. Our traditions changed as we lost grandparents, but the idea of keeping a ritual connected to the celebration was continued. When my children chose retail as their careers, work often interfered with their availability but elements of the tradition remain. This year I drove out to visit my daughter in October, so in a three day marathon we celebrated Christmas, then Halloween, and then my birthday. We moved Christmas and amazingly my daughter’s neighbors were thrilled to celebrate early with us complete with a tree, gifts, dinner, and Christmas Caroling.
Creative problem solving needs to come from your child. When my daughter couldn’t tie her shoes, I bought her slip-on shoes. She would not wear them. So I took the laces out of her shoes, replacing them with rubber bands. She demanded the laces back. I wanted to prevent the frustration she was experiencing. Then, after 2 weeks she jumped on my bed and said “Look at my feet!” There were perfectly tied shoes on her feet and a big smile on her face. As I hugged her and told her how proud I was of her success, I realized I almost missed the blessing. Hardships and challenge lead to blessings. Don’t miss the blessing.
Faith can be challenged by hard-hitting obstacles. Resilient children are able to overcome challenges and live with confidence in their abilities to bounce back from trauma and tragedy. Belief that God is at the helm as their boat splashes through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and rebellion; helps them to steer toward acceptance, support, comfort, and relief. Prayer ameliorates the stress of facing fears. Knowing a good and loving God helped Jochebed place her child in the ark, her faith allowed her to care for Moses for seven years. She shared her traditions and communicated her love to her child. Her faith gave Moses an education worthy of a Pharaoh, when she turned him over to the pharaoh’s sister. Moses resilience gave him the ability to lead the Hebrews to the Promised Land. Jochebed put God first and trusted that God would lead her son. Her selflessness created a resilient child with the strength of character to overcome life’s hard-hitting obstacles.