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The State of the Church: Tribute to the Mother-Father

Updated: Jul 12, 2021

Rev. Dr. Barry Johnson

(1) A Boy Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. (2) “Circle 66” is a football play where the back circles out of the backfield to receive a pass (hopefully covered by a slower linebacker), giving the advantage to the back. (3) The difference between major and minor keys is that major keys provide a “happy” sound, whereas minor keys produce a melancholy or “sad” sound.

Generally, the three aforementioned concepts are taught to sons by their fathers (or father figures): first, as regards the Scouts; second, the football team; and latter, the music world. However, in many cases, scout laws, football plays, and even music idioms are known and taught by mothers, who I will refer to as Mother-Fathers. These Mother-Fathers are single women who, through different circumstances, have been forced to wear both hats as the parents of their children. From education, sports, church, and the Arts, to life in general, Mother-Fathers have to assume the responsibility of shaping and developing their children through a productive childhood into the best adults they can be.

The Mother-Father’s role is to mold both the male and female child. She moves from teaching her daughters about menstrual cycles to teaching her sons about the effects of testosterone on their sexuality, encouraging both toward abstinence (while an education on Trojans, in case of emergencies, is definitely considered). Also, the Mother-Father has to educate her children (especially males) about the dangers of our current societal period. Shootings of innocent children and youth occur because they can be in the wrong places at the wrong times. A firmness is needed to deal with the angst and tension that can result from telling a child that he or she cannot go to a party or hangout in that park. Nonetheless, the faithful Mother-Father would rather that her children be mad at her in the present than not to ensure their futures at all! She prays that her children have the opportunity to grow into mature young women and responsible men.

The Mother-Father supports her children’s interests as a staple at scout meetings, football games, and band concerts. She is supportive of the schools, teachers, PTA, and other organizations that are prominent in her children’s educational matriculation. She may not understand the math that differs from the type of her day, but she “hangs in there,” helping with homework (and what she doesn’t understand, she knows from where to receive assistance). Education is a must for the Mother-Father, who knows the importance of this precious commodity, reminding her children that no one can ever take an education away. She does not wish for her children to be economically deprived and is therefore, dedicated to providing them all the necessary tools for the right to a better life.

The Mother-Father has an extra motivation to teach her children about the need to become excellent parents themselves, when that time comes. She warns them about the dangers of neglect, realizing that all neglect is not abandonment, but that the lack of investing in a child’s development is a form of neglect. Sometimes, mothers and fathers do not get along, and separation becomes inevitable; but through her gritty dedication and commitment, the Mother-Father teaches her children that children (in general) belong to both parents, and taking care of them is a priority. Her wisdom is not simply for the “now,” but is designed to instill a foundation and set of expectations for even her grandchildren’s futures.

Most importantly, the Mother-Father’s spiritual life is dedicated to the Lord. Her household resembles that of cultures where the head of the house demands that the family worship the Lord, be baptized, and dutifully attend and remain active in the local church. The Mother-Father does not compromise on these issues because she must rely on the blessings of the Lord to keep her family together and protected from any danger that would bring loss and grief. She has a strong commitment to her faith and teaches her children about her connection to Jesus and His presence as her source and strength, carefully demonstrating that her children are able to possess this same faith and relationship for themselves. The Mother-Father has a true vision for her children and is fully dedicated to her calling. Moreover, through her constant, fervent prayers, she is assured that the Lord will never leave her or forsake her. God gives grace to mothers and fathers but gives a double portion to the Mother-Father as she navigates the minefields of life, from economic provision to the love and protection of her children.

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