One of the greatest needs of motherhood is wisdom. I cannot even begin to say how many times during my child-rearing years that I prayed for just that.
A recent conversation with my daughter-in-law, Heather, reminded me just how much wisdom it takes to understand each child. No two are alike, and they do not come with instruction manuals. Only experience lets a mother know, “This model is extra sensitive and needs careful handling.” Or maybe, “This version is quite headstrong and must be watched closely.” How about, “Requires little sleep, probably less than you do.”
Some children are night owls; others are early birds. Some are picky eaters; others will eat almost anything (even things they shouldn’t). Some are leaders; others are followers. Some accept instruction; others are defiant. Some are independent; others always want help. Just when it seems a mother might be close to understanding how a particular child functions best, things change. A grumpy toddler turns into a happy preschooler. An easy-going elementary student becomes a moody “tween-ager” who morphs into a defiant teen. Then, wonder of wonders, the child who induced so much despair ends up being a responsible adult.
Of course, there is the opposite picture; a seemingly model child takes a turn for the worse and breaks a mother’s heart.
Each child is different, so each situation is different. There are best-case scenarios, worst-case scenarios, and a lot of in between (which is where most cases fall). Because mothers don’t know everything, they need wisdom to be able to meet the needs of their children as individuals rather than as a group.
I can use my children as an example of this. The oldest tended to be shy and was not comfortable talking to others. He was also quite stubborn and didn’t like to admit he had done wrong; there were several times that I knew he had transgressed but I had no actual proof, and he stoically denied his misbehavior. On the other hand, I could look at my middle child and tell that he was lying. His face said it all. When confronted, he would hang his head and admit what he had done. My youngest one tended to admit her wrongdoing, say she was sorry, and then expected there to be no consequences.
As a mother, I relied heavily on the Scripture verse found in James 1:5: “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.” I can’t say that I always prayed before I reacted; however, I can state that there were very many times that God gave me the insight I needed to deal with my children. Life went much smoother when I remembered to ask Him for wisdom instead of trying to wing it on my own.
One of my current prayers for the mothers of my grandchildren (also their spouses) is that the Lord will grant them wisdom in parenting.
Recipes this week include a main dish and easy rolls that could be prepared for Mom on her special day. There is a funny story that goes with the rolls, which I prepared for the first time several years ago. When I was mixing the dough, my husband Bob came into the kitchen and asked what I was making. My reply, “Knot rolls” was met with the question, “If they’re not rolls, then what are they?” Later I took some to a pitch-in lunch. Asked what was in my breadbasket, I replied, “Knot rolls,” only to hear the question… “If they’re not rolls, what are they?”
Vegetable Chicken Bake with Sweet Bacon Dressing
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (may use 6 to 8 tenders)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 or 4 medium-size red potatoes, unpeeled and sliced
2 cups frozen French-cut green beans, thawed and drained (measure while frozen)
Sweet Bacon Dressing (recipe follows)
Sprinkle chicken with pepper; dredge in flour. Brown on both sides in hot oil in a heavy skillet; drain on paper towels, and set aside.
Place potatoes and green beans in a lightly greased casserole dish. Pour half of Sweet Bacon Dressing over vegetables. Top with chicken breasts, and pour remaining dressing over chicken. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Yield: 8 servings
Sweet Bacon Dressing
3 slices bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled (May use 2-1/2 tablespoons real bacon bits)
2 tablespoons olive oil (may use canola)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine oil, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a jar. Cover tightly and shake well. Add bacon.
No-Knead Knot Rolls
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast (4-1/2 teaspoons)
2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
6 to 6-12 cups all-purpose flour (I use bread flour)
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, and 2 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and shortening; mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (do not knead). Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Punch dough down and divide into 4 equal portions. Shape one portion into a 14-x-12-inch rectangle. Spread 2 tablespoons butter over dough. Fold in half lengthwise and cut into 12 strips. Tie each strip into a knot; tuck and pinch ends under. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Yield: 4 dozen
For cloverleaf rolls, divide dough into 1-1/2-inch balls. Place 3 balls, smooth side up, in each greased muffin cup.