I have been reading a book about mothers. I know Iím one, but I find I donít
always know how to be one ?not the fairy type of mother, but the kind God
wants us to be. I am often short-fused with children. I donít know exactly
how many other mothers get this way, but the few that Iíve shared this with,
ended up exchanging high fives with me.
The book Iím reading included a story about
Thomas, an eight-year-old boy, many years ago. Thomas, rather sickly and
partially deaf, lagged far behind his peers in academics. Teachers tended to
be easily exasperated with him because he was slow on the uptake. His
classmates were quick to show him this same exasperation. It was common for
them to talk down to him or make fun of his mistakes. His was an unkind
world. But in that world, Thomas had a mother. A mother he came home to
after each and every doggone day in school. A mother who was happy to have
him. A mother who would sit with him at the kitchen counter and listen to
how badly his day had gone.
I put down the book for a moment and asked God
to make me like that. A mother can do more than just read between the lines.
There are mothers who can read sadness and loneliness in their childrenís
faces. When something is wrong, theyíll know by the expression in their
eyes, or by the way their children walk, or by the way their heads hang
One day, Thomas came home with a letter from
the headmaster of the school. Thomas was being expelled because his brain
His mother didnít fuss much about the letter.
She hugged Thomas, saying everything would be okay. She knew he was slower
than most others, but she believed Thomas could learn if lessons were taught
to him more slowly. She worked on teaching him herself at home. It began to
work. He began to pick up speed. Pretty soon, he started to device new
things, inventing this and that ?a lot of them silly in the beginning.
When Thomas finally died, an entire nation ?
the people of the United States ?honoured him by switching off the lights
throughout America for one minute. This tribute was paid to the same Thomas
whose headmaster expelled him from school because his brain worked slower;
the one who lived with seeing classmates nudge each other and laugh at him.
This Thomas was Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the light bulb and
phonograph. And that headmaster and the jeering classmates, where were they
when America turned its lights off?
I put the book down for a second. My heart was
cheering for Thomas. And also for his mom. If she were here, Iíd salute her.
May God make me just a little more like her.
Mrs. Edison, wherever you are, thank you.