Thursday, May 5, 2011

Missionary moms can really make an impact

I've been burdened and even alarmed at what I think is the most glaring gap in our county's improvement plan. At almost every turn we seem to have something in place to address our problems. It may need to be strengthened and have more support but at least someone has a plan or program that addresses most of our weaknesses.

But what if THE KEY WEAKNESS had hardly any community emphasis at all?

I am becoming convinced with many others that this may be the case and am making every effort to rally our citizens, especially Christians, and even more specifically mothers to the cause. Let me begin by clearing some brush so we can see clearly ahead. #1. The answer to all the world's problem is the finished work of Jesus on Calvary weekend. He is making all things new by that finished work and uses His church on earth by his Spirit to accomplish that end. 2. There is very little room between sacred and secular in my thinking. What I mean by that is, for me, helping someone learn to read is as Christian as going to a worship service.

Now then, we are finding (nationally) that the brain development of a child between 0 and 3 years is crucial to a child's capacity to learn in their school years and also crucial in them having a chance at a fruitful and productive life. The stimulation of a little baby's brain literally creates capacity for learning. So, by the time a child reaches school (the first time a professional interacts with them) the foundation for learning has already been laid. Or to say it another way, if you want to get a lot of learning in a brain you have to have a big box. That box is made before the child gets to school. So who has baby in those crucial years? Yep, you got it, for the most part it's mom.

The problem: The degree that a child is cared for or neglected (touched, played with, talked to or read to) determines the brain development of a child. Factors that exacerbate the problem: 1. Working moms (with little time to interact with the child) 2. Daycare centers (which leave babies in a crib rather than interact with them) 3. Young mothers (especially teen mothers) who haven't matured enough to selflessly care for their child's needs above their own and finally 4. mom's who don't know how to be moms. Quick caveat: Not letting dad's off the hook here, just primarily it is mom who interacts with baby. That list is not exhaustive and judgmental at first glance especially to mom's who are trying to make ends meet and doing the best they can with what they have.

HUGE missional opportunity: It doesn't matter who stimulates little baby's brain, just make sure it gets stimulated.

God gives a great picture of gospel fruit bearing older women... "they are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, " Titus 2:4

There are about 70 babies born to teenage mom's every year in our county. Yes, every year... last year, this year and next year. Almost four out of every ten babies are born to single moms in our county. These mom's have to work (many times two jobs) to make ends meet, some are so young that they just leave their kids in strollers or cribs all day. Christian mothers can reach out to these mom's in a profound way. Babysit their kids, start affordable, small, at home child care centers, start play groups with mom's in high risk circles, take an interest in young at-risk momma's. Teach them how to "love their children", you love them, show them the gospel, teach them about their babies' little brains.

As you go your missionary way this week remember mom's and their tiny ones: 1. touch 2. talk 3. play and 4. read... If every mom did it we'd make big boxes ready for much learning.

None of this takes much money but it does take much love, sacrificial love. The kind of love that mom's are wired with anyway, especially Christian ones.


1 - read/write comments:

Anna said...

This hit home with me, Bobby. These are great suggestions as I seek ways to be His hands and feet.

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