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Sheri Dew: The Influence of Mothers

By Sheri Dew

Published: Sunday, May 8 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

The destiny of mankind is in the hands of mothers. This is not hyperbole. The proverb, "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6) is more than a formula; it is reality. Mothers not only perpetuate the human race, they raise up the next generation.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, who served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, "When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happens in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?" (Ensign, May 1978, 10-11)

God has placed the well-being of His children in the hands of mothers.

Truth #2: We tend to define motherhood as maternity, but the word "mother" has layers of meaning.

Eve was called "the mother of all living" before she ever bore a child. Mother is the word that best describes the essence of who we are as women. It defines our identity, our divine nature and the gifts with which we have been endowed.

In reality, all women are mothers. We all need the nurturing touch of the mother who bore us and the "mothers" who bear with us. One of the greatest blessings of my life has been the privilege of learning from marvelous women — beginning with my mother and grandmother, but including others who have taught me things I would have never grasped on my own. They have made all the difference.

Truth #3: Mothers can do more than any others to cure the problems that exist in our society.

While serving in the General Presidency of the Relief Society, the women's organization of the LDS Church, we hosted Mrs. Jehan Sedat, the widow of Egyptian president Anwar Sedat, at a luncheon not long after a mass shooting in a U.S. high school. During the luncheon, the conversation turned to this horrifying event, and one man opined that the problem was with the failure of law enforcement agencies.

Mrs. Sedat immediately countered him: "No, the problem is with our homes. Too many mothers have abdicated responsibility for teaching their children what is right. What happens in society all begins with mothers."

There is no better place to teach integrity or compassion or the virtue of virtue. Perhaps that is why President Gordon B. Hinckley called women the "one bright shining hope in a world that is marching toward self-destruction" (One Bright Shining Hope, Deseret Book, 1)

Truth #4: Satan is real, and he has declared war on women.

The adversary understands full well that those who rock the cradle are strategically positioned to rock his diabolical empire. Thus, today his destructive myths about women and mothers abound. Here are just three:

Myth #1: Men are more important and have all the power, so if women want to have influence they should be more like men.

Myth #2: A woman's value is based solely on size and shape.

Myth #3: The only worthwhile validation comes from outside the home, and thus, motherhood is a waste of any talented woman's time.

Too many women have bought these lies. Our culture is disintegrating at the speed of light, and regrettably, the female gender is doing its share of the damage. Sleazy women who flaunt their indiscretions jam the airwaves and monopolize magazine covers.

Other distortions are equally troubling. One prominent magazine annually publishes its "100 Most Powerful Women" cover story. Almost every woman mentioned is a politician, entertainer or CEO. I mean no disrespect to any of these women. What I dispute is the distortion that in order to have influence, a woman must have money, fame or a title. That is a lie!

External validation has short-term value at best. It's difficult to hug an award. No one from the office will call on Mothers Day to thank you for changing their life. There world's praise pales when compared to the joy of family.

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