“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck” (Proverbs 1:8-9).

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Abraham Lincoln lost his mother when he was just 9 years old.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln died in 1818 at age 34 from milk sickness, which is contracted by drinking milk from a cow that has ingested poisonous white snakeroot plants.

Young Abe was devastated. The woman who used a Bible to teach him how to read and instilled in him a lifelong love of learning was gone.

Abe helped his father, Thomas, a carpenter by trade, build his mother’s pine coffin.

Years later, Lincoln said, “I remember my mother’s prayers, and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”

Historical accounts of Nancy Lincoln describe her as “mild, tender and intellectually inclined.” She passed those traits to her son, along with virtues like compassion and honesty.

Throughout his life, Lincoln referred to Nancy Lincoln as his “angel mother.”

He once said, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Parents have a tremendous responsibility and privilege to mold young minds.

Even though Nancy Lincoln had just a short time with Abraham Lincoln, he went on to change the world.

But the time for every parent is short. Busy days quickly turn into busy months and busy years. Before you know it, the little girl sitting on the potty yelling, “Wipe me!” is off to college.

Rearing children can be overwhelming, but never lose sight of the goal: adults who love God and love others.

Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.”

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>What is your biggest challenge as a parent?

>What can you do to be more patient with your children?

>What are the three most important virtues you would like to instill in your children?

>What can you do to work on these virtues?