Today’s Family: The Eternal Role of Mothers

(Editor’s note: “Today’s Family” is a regular feature of Prophets and Apostles Speak Today. It reaffirms the importance of the family as described in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” a document published by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.)

“There is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood,” says Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  “While women live in homes under many different circumstances—married, single, widowed, or divorced, some with children and some without—all are beloved of God, and He has a plan for His righteous daughters to receive the highest blessings of eternity.”

Elder Ballard affirms mothers’ divine role in cherishing and teaching their children.  “There is no one perfect way to be a good mother,” he says.  “Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children.” Elder Ballard acknowledges that some women are “able to be ‘full-time moms,’ [and that] some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work,” but that “what matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else.”

Nurturing Is an Eternal Role

Among the most important roles of a mother is the call to nurture, Elder Ballard says. “A mother’s nurturing love arouses in children, from their earliest days on earth, an awakening of the memories of love and goodness they experienced in their pre-mortal existence,” he declares.  “Because our mothers love us, we learn, or more accurately remember, that God also loves us.”

Other prophets and apostles teach that because the work of nurturing has eternal significance, it can be exercised throughout life, whether or not a woman has children. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, says, “If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the next.”

Echoing President Uchtdorf, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles affirms that the roles and blessings of motherhood need not be exclusive to those with children of their own: “To the women within the sound of my voice who dearly want to be mothers and are not, I say through your tears and ours on that subject, God will yet, in days that lie somewhere ahead, bring ‘hope to [the] desolate heart.’” Elder Holland promises “ultimately ‘no blessing shall be withheld’ from the faithful, even if those blessings do not come immediately.  In the meantime we rejoice that the call to nurture is not limited to our own flesh and blood.”

Heaven’s Blessings Attend Mothers

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says a mother’s influence is eternal and infinite. “Who can justly measure the righteous influence of a mother’s love? What enduring fruits result from the seeds of truth that a mother carefully plants and lovingly cultivates in the fertile soil of a child’s trusting mind and heart?”

“As a mother you have been given divine instincts to help you sense your child’s special talents and unique capacities,” says Elder Scott. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles adds, “To mothers who are raising their children without a father in the home, I promise you that as you speak of Jesus Christ, you will feel the power of heaven blessing you.”

Elder Holland says, “May I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you.”

Honoring Mothers

Among the blessings of each of our lives, mothers should hold a special place of honor, President Thomas S. Monson says. “Mother, who willingly made that personal journey into the valley of the shadow of death to give us birth, deserves our undying gratitude.”

“Love your mother,” Elder Ballard implores. “Respect her. Listen to her. Trust her. … Learn from her strengths, her courage, and her faithfulness.”

What can we do to show gratitude? To husbands, Elder Ballard suggests the following:

  • Show extra appreciation and give more validation for what your wife does every day. Notice her efforts and say thank you—often. Schedule some evenings together, just the two of you.
  • Have a regular time to talk with your wife about each child’s needs and what you can do to help.
  • Give your wife a “day away” now and then. Take over the household and give your wife a break from her daily responsibilities. Taking over for a while will greatly enhance your appreciation of what your wife does.
  • Come home from work and take an active role with your family. Don’t put work, friends, or sports ahead of listening to, playing with, and teaching your children.

To children and youth, Elder Ballard suggests:

  • Pick up your toys when you are finished playing with them, and when you get a little older, you can make your bed, help with the dishes, and do other chores—without being asked.
  • Say thank you more often when you finish a nice meal, when a story is read to you at bedtime, or when clean clothes are hung in your closet or put in your drawers.
  • Most of all, you can put your arms around your mother often and tell her you love her.

Previously Published in “Today’s Family”

  1. Proclamation Still a Clarion Call
  2. Women of Church Have Great Positive Influence
  3. Lessons Learned from Fathers
  4. We Believe in Children
  5. Children Can Bless Their Homes and Families
  6. Protect the Power to Create Life
  7. Marriage Can Fulfill the Soul’s Worthy Yearnings
  8. Blessings Come from Family Councils
  9. Choose Wholesome Recreation
  10. Bring Happiness into Courtship and Marriage