Expectations are a big part of faith and love

Published 2:47 pm Monday, May 10, 2004

By Staff
Today is Mother's Day, the second Sunday in May, a day dedicated to honoring our mothers. While Moms might think it is pretty special to have a whole day, consider this: egg salad gets a whole week, as do pickles, pancakes, pickled peppers, split pea soup, clowns, carpenter ants and aardvarks. Peanut butter (March), chickens (September) and oatmeal (January) each rate an entire month.
Even though peanut butter gets a whole month and mothers only get a day, mothers, you can draw solace from the fact that one of the most extensive studies of faith development ever conducted on the American people, and published in the National and International Religion Report, found that when people were asked the question, "Who or what had the most positive influence on your religious faith?" the overwhelming response was "my mother."
Great Expectations. That is the title of this article. And in a nutshell, that is what I have to say on this Mother's Day. A good mother should have great expectations for her family.
I believe what a mother expects from her husband, her children, or her grandchild has a great deal to do with how they will turn out. To have a mother in the home that expects and works for and prays for the best, to have a mother who has faith in you, makes all the difference in the world.
Expectations are a big part of faith, but expectations are also a big part of love. I like the way the Living Bible paraphrases verse 7 of Paul's great chapter on love, 1 Corinthians 13: "If you love someone, you will be loyal to them no matter what the cost. You will always believe in them, always expect the best of them…."
Just what is the nature of expectation? I think when a mother expects the best of her child or her husband, she gets hold of the will, the soul, and the heart in such a way that personal growth is inspired and set in motion. The truth is that we need, we depend upon the encouragement and expectations of others if we are to have any chance of becoming all that it is possible for us to become. Having others expect the best from us is a part of the geography of every human soul.
Specifically, what should mothers expect? Let me make three suggestions. First, they should expect their families to reach and fulfill their potential. I'm not suggesting that every child has the potential to become a Nobel Prize winning scientist or statesman, or even make all A's in school, but every child has his or her own prime potential. How does one communicate to a child in such a way that the child is motivated to reach higher, try harder, to do better? It takes a combination of discipline and encouragement.
The second thing mothers should expect of their families is that they make their finest contribution to the world. The world would never have received many of the gifts it has received, great art, music, literature, scientific discoveries, humanitarian gestures, if mothers and grandmothers had not expected and called for those under their charge to give to the world the very best that they could give.
In the third place, they should expect their families to have an on-going awareness of and dependence upon God. That is what Susanna Wesley gave to John Wesley and each of her other nineteen children. She spent quality time, devotional time, Bible reading time, and prayer time with each of her children, individually, and she impressed upon each of them the importance of the presence and power of God in their lives.
Rufus Jones, the great Quaker leader, remembers his mother praying for him saying, "Oh, God, take this boy of mine and make him the boy and the man he is divinely designed to be." Then she got up from her knees and kissed him, and Jones says that his mother's prayer and kiss helped change his life.
Mom, what do YOU expect? Don't let us off too easily!