I used to teach elementary music. I worked in the most wonderful school district with supportive administration, staff, and teachers committed to the best for the kids, engaged parents, and a friendly community. It was a teacher’s dream job.
Every few months, I would put together a musical program for a few grades and the auditorium would be packed. Those programs were time-intensive and stressful, but I LOVED them because the children were able to show their parents what they had been learning and we all had a lot of fun with the programs!
The Veteran’s Day programs were especially rewarding. We would personally invite veterans from the community and honor them during a patriotic-themed show put on by the fourth and fifth graders. Each year, I would receive cards from veterans who had attended thanking us for taking the time to appreciate them.
I was also very fortunate to hear often from parents how much their children loved music class with me. I know many teachers do not get this kind of feedback in the moment, so I count that among the many blessings of my teaching career.
But some of the most meaningful appreciation from teachers and students is just coming now, five years after I stopped teaching and many years since they graduated from elementary school. The students who were third graders when I started teaching are graduating this year and I’ve received the most lovely notes from some of them and their parents inviting my family and me to their graduation parties. I cherish these notes of appreciation, especially because they often include fond memories of the elementary years and updates on how they’ve enjoyed music in their lives since then.
These words of delayed appreciation from former students and their families have been a good reminder and encouragement to me as a mom.
While the baby may clap for me when I come to get him in the crib in the morning and one of the older ones may actually remember to say thanks on his own when I make his favorite meal, motherhood can often FEEL like a thankless job.
In the middle of laundry and homework and chores, you won’t always get notes from family members thanking you for preparing them for life away from home or telling you how much the devotionals you’ve read as a family helped them draw closer to God.
But there WILL be delayed appreciation for your faithful daily work of investing in the lives and hearts of your family. Whether you hear words of thanks from your own children when they are grown or not, the appreciation that really truly matters will only be heard after this life is over.
We are not mothering for flowers and presents and lavish words of thanksgiving, although all of that would be nice. We are mothering for God and for the Kingdom – for an audience of one.
Find your strength as a mother in Him, not in human words of gratitude that may or may not come. And press on, Mom, knowing your delayed appreciation for never giving up on your family will come when you approach the throne of Heaven!
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9
I would like to encourage you today to reach out to two groups of people—the teachers that have positively influenced your life or the lives of your kids AND those moms or special mother figures in your life. Even if you think it’s “too late,” I promise they will love your words of thanks!
Erin Mohring is a follower of Jesus Christ, a doctor’s wife, and stay-at-home mom to three lively young boys. The hubby and Erin have been blissfully married for nine years. Big J is six, Little J is almost four, and Double J just joined the fam in March of 2012! She’s learning quickly about life in the world of boys – which you can follow at Home with the Boys!