I Rule the World

A discouraged mother came to me seeking counsel. She had been to a lovely dinner, where, during the reception, a gentleman introduced himself, asked her name, and inquired about her profession.

“Well, I’m a mother and a housewife,” she said.

There was an awkward pause and the man, saying nothing, simply turned to another woman and asked, “And what do you do?” — leaving her standing there with her mouth open.

“I felt so bad, so demeaned, so belittled,” she told me. “As if I just weren’t worth anything at all.”

Motherhood has fallen on hard times. We used to say that “something was as American as motherhood and apple pie.” I’m not sure how apple pie is doing, but motherhood has been through a unique and difficult time.

The traditional role of wife and mother has undergone intense attack in the last forty years—a frontal assault unequaled in world history.

The late Betty Friedan told a generation of women in her book, The Feminine Mystique, that the family is an “oppressive institution.” According to Friedan, traditional notions of family were “burying millions of American women alive.”

But the feminist alternative of putting career advancement before marriage and family is proving less and less attractive to a generation of young women reared under the sway of feminist ideology.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush offered sage and perhaps unwelcome advice in 1990 when she spoke to Wellesley college graduates. She reminded her reluctant audience of the things that really count: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.”

Feminists think otherwise. The hand that rocks the cradle must be terribly untalented, they say, or otherwise women would find something more productive to do with their lives. After all, “It takes a village” to raise a child, according to another former First Lady, Hillary Clinton—so entrust your little ones to state schools and organizations. They know better what is best for your children.

It is true that a great many factors conspire to force some women with children at home to work. Still, it is sad that so many others have believed the siren song of the radical feminists and have not known the greatest significance and joy in the world—the joy of motherhood.

Mothers can have an inestimable impact on the lives of their children and, through them, many others. Dwight L. Moody, the great evangelist of a century ago, said, “All that I have ever accomplished in life, I owe to my mother.”

• Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am and all that I hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

• George Washington said his godly mother’s pious teaching and her faithful prayers molded him.

• Andrew Jackson said, “The memory of my mother and her teachings were the only capital I had to start life with, and on that capital I have made my way.”

• Napoleon said, “Let France have good mothers, and she will have good sons.”

God has assigned different—but not unequal—roles in life to men and women. Let us thank God for those godly women who have found satisfaction and joy in motherhood and, in so doing, have raised children who, like Lincoln and Washington, are making a positive impact in their world.

Oh, yes, finally, what did I tell the lady who wanted to know what to say when asked, “And what do you do?” I suggested she should have said: “I? What do I do? Oh, I rule the world....”

D. James Kennedy, Ph.D., is senior minister of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, and president of Coral Ridge Ministries, an international Christian broadcast outreach