Friday, August 18, 2006

The New Term For Mom

My friend and I met at the park this week. As it always does, the conversation turned to raising large families. She has 7 children. Almost at the same moment we turned and asked each other, "Did you hear the new term for mothers who have many children?" We laughed. Yes, we had both heard it. And it isn't complimentary.

Christianity Today writer Leslie Leyland Fields has heard it said too. She wasn't pleased either.

I first heard the word in my college classroom a few years ago. I was an assistant professor of English at a state university, and, not incidentally, the mother of five children at the time. We were doing the usual around-the-room introductions in this opening class, which served as my forecast and early warning system for the upcoming semester. Several of the women had listed their occupations, their passions, and then mentioned they were also mothers. Then it was Rosalyn's turn. "Hi, I'm Rosalyn, and I've been a truck driver and a commercial fisherman, and I'm not a breeder." Everyone looked at me, silent, eyes wide. I smiled out of reflex, but suddenly it hit my brain like a smart bomb: A breeder? So that's the term now! Like dogs or horses, purely animal-species survival.
Undeterred, Fields, a mother of 6, goes on to make "the case for kids".

What happens in larger families? Children are more tolerant. They learn that they are one part of a whole much larger than themselves and that the common good usually takes precedence over their particular desires. They also discover the principle of scarcity; they learn to conserve. Their clothes are on loan and passed on to others when they are done. They have to share their toys. They cannot take more food than they can eat, or someone else will not have enough. They can't take long, hot showers, or someone else gets a cold shower. They learn that their singular behavior affects multiple people. They are not the center of the universe.
So true. Our culture tricks us into believing that life is about us and disaprage what mothers do with their silly names. But I don't worry about what they say too much. I'm not a mom to win their approval. I've got higher aspirations.

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. Psalm 127:3-5

It's just a matter of WHO you're living for.

So, let the world call us breeders in our kennels.

As for me and my house, WE will serve the Lord. And that makes me blessed.

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