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THE ART OF MOTHERHOOD
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Motherhood is an art any way one looks at it.

An artisan who wishes to prove his skill presents his or her works to the public eye, and takes pride in them. His works testify to his talents and his inner qualities as an artist. A work of art in which an artist can take pride testifies to a major investment of time, thought, and effort. The more of one's resources a person invests in his works, the more impressive and unique will be the results.

A child is the creation of his parents. Women are given the most precious raw material from which to fashion their "works" - the children of the coming generation. When she invests her utmost in her offspring, a mother will achieve the finest results. Why, then, should she not feel tremendous satisfaction in this great accomplishment? It is the height of creativity to which a human being can aspire, and should bring in its wake more satisfaction and fulfillment than any other human endeavor.

A child's success in school is not only a function of his talents, far more decisive is his determination to succeed.  If he or she is highly motivated, this will take him much further than a high IQ. Motivation is the primary key, and this will be determined mainly by the future his mother envisions for her child and the degree to which she succeeds in motivating him to achieve it.

It is primarily the mother whose warmth molds the child's heart. A youngster knows instinctively what will please his mother and strives to accomplish the goals she has set for him. He strives not to fail so as not to disappoint her.  Her continual assistance, by providing him with healthful meals, clothing, and all he needs, serve to raise his spirits and renew his determination to succeed.

He sets out each morning for his classroom warmed by her love and her aspirations for him, and knows that when he returns, he will be received with the same warmth and love. Her interest in his reports of his day at school, bond them more and more. She, thus strengthens his motivation to fulfill her vision of his future.

King Solomon urges us:

Hearken, my son, to the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the teaching of thy mother (Proverbs 1:8)  

What is the "teaching of thy mother"?

The mother looks after his physical growth, his nourishment and clothing until he learns to look after himself. He acquires practical experience form his mothers actions which leave a deep and powerful impression more than any number of lectures by the father.

The mother guides her children by setting an example and how to react other children. She teaches him to prioritze by arranging him to help and elderly neighbor rather than join his peers for a game of soccer, by responding truthfully instead of trying to get away with a "white lie", by giving him opportunities to find his own solutions before running into trouble and by building his sense of self-esteem.

A mother's examplary behavior molds her children and their value system for the rest of their lives, whether she is aware of it or not. This is what King Solomon sums up as "the teaching of thy mother."

On the whole, the father's contribution is more theoretical and not necessarily as powerful. While the child absorbs his mother's examples without effort, he will not internalize his father's verbal lessons unless he chooses to do so, and makes an effort to apply them.

So it is that the mother's personal efforts to refine her own character automatically become the legacy bequeathed to her children. If she is slow to anger, if she always judges others favorably, if she is repulsed by coarse behavior and speech, jealousy, stinginess, and so forth, her children will follow suit without her delivering a single lecture on the topic.

It is interesting to note that we refer to one's native language as his "mother tongue." The father presumably speaks the same language, but first words are learned from the mother.

A women who relates positively to her position as a wife and  mother, who finds satisfaction in her daily tasks, grows continually in her nurturing capacity. Her happiness radiates to her spouse and children, and her home is a cheerful haven to which they return each day for a generous dose of the fuel of life: contentment and happiness.

More than the nourishing meals she provides, and the tidy wardrobe she supplies, this women warms the hearts and souls of her family with her own inner contentment. They, too, will enjoy helping others because they sense how much pleasure their mother finds in doing so. It is the mother who is in a position to create this atmosphere, far more than the father, because she serves as a living example of loving care for others. Children raised in such a home will be generous and benevolent and will derive great personal satisfaction while carrying out charitable acts. 

To conclude, observation of the orthodox Jewish family demonstrates that the woman exerts a profound influence on the home, the education children receive, and the performance of Torah commandments. She plays a key role in establishing the guidelines of the home and perpetuating its values in future generations.

"The wisdom of women built her home".  (Proverbs)

"How goodly is our portion, how pleasant our lot" that we were given a comprehensive "manual" the Torah which guides us to fulfilling our true, inner needs.

It is nearly impossible to define one's emotional needs since we are so powerfully influenced by our environment. The media, and the plethora of advertisers, politicians, and the like, all of whom seek to use others for their own gain, as well as our imagination mislead us into momentary happiness.

However,  the Torah encourages us to develop our character and to apply our personal potential constructively, each  according to his personal talents and strengths. It directs us to achieve our goals and fulfill our purpose in life, so that we arrive at our final destination with the gratification of a job well done. It warns us of potential dangers such as fleeting pleasures and social prestige, which soon fade and leave only bitter disappointment in their wake.


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