Jul 5, 2022
by Shelley Colton
One of my favorite pieces of all time in regards to women and motherhood is Rachel DeMille's Steel to Gold. I will whet your appetite with one aspect of her message, but I highly recommend reading it in its entirety.
As mothers, we naturally and rightly put our family and our children first. We focus on our responsibility and mission revolving around those who call us wife and mother. It would be unfortunate for us, however, to limit our influence with this myopic perspective.
We've all heard the adage that it takes a village to raise a child, but Rachel makes the valid point that it takes a mother (any adult woman who mentors youth, who helps them grow into contributing, happy adults) to raise a village. "There are as many ways [for mothers] to get involved as there are women, but all of us must do it. And the marital or maternal status of a woman has nothing to do with her fully participating in this mission. "There is a power that women bring to the table, the power of shaping a community-of changing its very heart-a power that lasts for generations, not just between elections.
"This power is best expressed by the woman who sets out to raise her great-grandchildren." "At first this seems obvious.
"A woman who raises her own children successfully will, of course, have a direct and indirect impact on her grandchildren and even her great-grandchildren.
"But this is only the start.
"Every great-grandchild is directly raised by twelve people.
"There are others who will influence the child, but twelve who directly raise, mentor, teach, lead, counsel and help the child reach adulthood.
"The power of womanhood is to directly train all twelve of these people, so that when her great-grandchild is raised, he or she is raised correctly and well.
"The twelve people are the great-grandchild's
Rabbi (religious leader)
"These are the twelve most influential people in the life of your unborn great-grandchild. And if you don't raise them right, who will? What an incredible challenge!"
Speaking further to the power of women, and mothers especially, Rachel continues:
"Our role as women is to raise these twelve people right! No elected official can do all this, no judge, no senator, no CEO, no high school principal, no Hollywood executive, no media mogul or Federal Reserve banker.
"No President or Pope can do this. They just aren't powerful enough."
Her point is that mothers are the ONLY ones powerful enough to do this and to do it well. She continues : "Every woman has [this power], is born with it, can reach deep down inside and bring it to the surface, can spend her life doing it. If this seems overwhelming, welcome to womanhood"
Rachel also warns: "We must use this power or see others usurp and misuse it." All around us we see evidence of the power of motherhood left unattended. We are dealing with the difficult consequences of wresting that power back to the heart of moms, where it belongs.
Of course, she acknowledges the importance of men in this great challenge: "Thank goodness for husbands, fathers, brothers and friends who provide love and support, and the necessities of life, so we have a real chance of success in this incredibly daunting task.
"While a man is often limited to providing for one family, directing all their effort toward this focus, women have a greater ability to organize together, divide the task for training these twelve people and work in closely bonded teams-all toward the same goal."
So, as Rachel then asks: "What are [we] doing to raise these twelve people?" "Here are some key areas of your life to consider;
Your education is your most valuable asset. Not limited to formal degrees, Rachel reminds us that we can't exert more power than we have at our disposal. In short, "We should never stop improving who we are, our hearts and our minds."
Raising children is the thing that changes the world the most. "Everybody knows this, but modern feminism has convinced us that it's cliché, even patronizing. . . We must train up the leaders of the future with confidence, power and grace. We must deliver. We must achieve results. We are the stateswomen of the 21st Century. If we fail, the world will fail."
You can do it! "Every woman who reads this has the power to do it . . it will depend on your choices."
Rachel gives us a perfect example of what this looks like:
"Consider Abigail Adams, in November of 1775, the great historian George Bancroft wrote:
"She was at her home near the foot of Penn Hill charged with the sole care of her little brood of children; managing their farm; keeping house with frugality . . . opening her doors to the houseless and giving with good will a part of her scant portion to the poor; seeking work through her own hands and ever busily occupied, now at the spinning-wheel . . . learning French . . . with the aid of books alone. . . . She herself was still very weak after a violent illness; her house was a hospital in every part . . . . Her youngest son had been rescued from the grave by her nursing. Her mother had been taken away and, after the austere manner of her forefathers, buried without prayer.
"Winter was hurrying on; during the days family affairs took all her attention, but her long evenings, broken by the sound of the storm on the ocean, or the enemy's artillery on Boston, were lonesome and melancholy.
"Ever in the silent night, ruminating on the love and tenderness of her departed parent, she needed the consolation of her husband's presence; but when she had read the King's proclamation she willingly gave up her nearest friend . . . to his perilous duties and sent him her cheering message ...
"Abigail herself stated:
"'I could not join to-day in the petition of our worthy pastor for a reconciliation [with Great Britain]. Let us renounce them; and instead of supplications, as formerly, for their prosperity, let us beseech the Almighty to blast their counsels and bring naught to all their devices.'"
Rachel then continues:"It is tempting to note that shortly after reading this her husband rose in the Continental Congress and swayed the entire body away from reconciliation and toward revolution.
"It is tempting to note that her elder son watched her closely during this time, and in addition to her tutoring he felt something like fine steel grow within his breast-something that would not bend, and with him a nation would stand firm.
"It is tempting to remember that this same son would be torn from her gentle tutoring at age 13 to serve with distinction as America's ambassador to Russia.
Rosemarie Mosteller / Shutterstock.com.
"It is tempting to see her standing on Penn Hill, watching the cannon threaten her home at the base, yet writing: "The cannonade is from our army, and the sight is one of the grandest in nature . . ."
"In short, it is tempting to see Abigail in her support role and admire that. But to do so would be to misunderstand Abigail.
"No doubt she would prefer to be understood this way, but to know Abigail Adams one must turn their attention to the steel in Abigail's eyes in these trying moments. She took action. She moved the cause of liberty.
"Because of her actions and decisions her great-grandchildren stood free still." This perspective Rachel offers us gives us pause and calls us. If we have not felt this calling before, to the great mission that is motherhood, especially motherhood, right now, in the USA, it is time to listen to our hearts and see if we can hear it. Our challenges differ, but the thing we fight for remains the same.
"The women of today must unconditionally and without apology adopt the full role of womanhood, the glory of maternal ambition, and set out to raise twelve people right. "If we succeed, America will succeed. And the world will succeed. But if we fail . . . We will not fail.
"Of women today, Steel is needed. Unbending. Beautiful."
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