If I even say that phrase I start singing the hymn that we sang every week at Mass while attending my beautiful grade school.
The homily this last Sunday was on exactly this-letting our light shine, the talents and gifts that we ALL have, each one of us, to make the world a better place. I love that our priest mentioned “in the home” also. I’ve heard some stay-at-home moms mention to me over the years that they have been questioned about letting their gifts and talents and education “go to waste” caring for their children. I think there is NO better place to channel those gifts and talents, and that education! There is NO place that those gifts and talents and education will make more of an impact for eternity than in the home! “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”-it’s absolutely true. I’ve known doctors, lawyers, MBA’s, very skilled women, make the choice to stay at home and shine their “light” upon their families full-time, while the needs of their children are so great. That light is a gift! The days our children our home are so short, such a small percentage of our lives.
Our priest also mentioned that it is a responsibility to not squander this God-given gift. The purpose is to share. It is false humility to think that we don’t have anything special to offer our families. I often think of a mom who once said to me, after she asked me what I “do”-“I could never stay at home, I don’t know how you do it.” I always wish I would have engaged her further in that statement-it makes me sad to think of what sort of warped view she had of what it “takes” to be a mom. I know every and all sort of stay-at-home moms, there is no “right” sort of personality type, no “right” sort of skills needed. There is also no training-the first day of the job is when that baby arrives in our arms. We go from there and learn hands-on. It’s a journey-a journey that takes decades. I can only think someone must have told her, in some way, shape, or form, that she wasn’t “good enough” for this job-as if she had to be some Barney (does anyone even remember Barney?) type of character every day, know what she was doing right off the bat, and be totally happy and satisfied-never get impatient, or unsettled, or stressed and if she does, well she’s not cut out for it and her children are better off with hired help every day as her fill-in. That train of thought leaves no room for the journey-no room for personal growth.
When I look back on twenty-two years of parenting, I can’t imagine any other work teaching me as many skills as I have learned (and I’m still learning). I can’t imagine any other work that has pushed me physically or emotionally into tremendous growth, any work forcing me to learn new things, things I couldn’t have imagined being part of the job description, than that of stay-at-home mother. It has stretched me in ways I could never have fathomed as a new scared-to-death, twenty-four year old mother. I think we should be encouraging mothers to be home with their children-that they are enough for their babies, THEY are what their babies need more than any one else-they are more than enough, no one is worthy of taking their place, they are the ONLY one who can be mother! They are worth that tiny blink of an eye of time that it takes to raise a baby up, and no other job will reward them more than letting their light shine through their daily motherly presence.