News The African Way

Mother’s Love: Not Just Unconditional, But Also Instinctual, By Sandra Ijeoma Okoye

It is not an exaggeration to say that residents of Ogunleye Street, off Adekunle Kuye, Surulere, Lagos, will not forget so soon how they were, in the month of May 2017, thrown into mourning after a couple and three children died in a fire that engulfed the shop they used as home.

The incident was also highlighted with the destruction of three other shops in the inferno. However, the most spotlighted in the event was how Hope, the wife of the owner of the shop, Ignatius, dashed back into the raging fire, unnoticed, despite being in pains, when her children kept crying for help. But she was burnt to death with the children, Chukwuka, 9; Nonso, 7, and Ugochukwu, 6.

In a similar vein, there was an incident in a village that I cannot mention its name in this context, where a particular youth got missing in the forest; either while on his way to the farm or on his way back. For three days he was nowhere to be found despite the search groups organized by decision makers in the village to search for him. Interestingly while elders and decision makers in the village were unarguably dilly-dallying on how he should be searched for, and brought back home, the mother, who unarguably ran out of patience braced the odds, and went into the thick forest at midnight to search for the son by screaming his name with all her strength. Fortunately for her, the son heard her, and equally searched for the mother, and they eventually met, and got united once again in the forest, and consequently came back home together.

Still in the same vein, some members of a secret cult came asking for a member of a rival cult group.  Being disappointed that he was not found at home, they threatened the mother with a message that her son should expect them in two days’ time when he would be killed in the presence of his mother. When the mother heard the bullying message, she held on to the trousers of one the cultist urging him to kill her in the stead of her son. Both of them were rumbustiously struggling and arguing when policemen on patrol within the vicinity stormed on them at the scene of disagreement, and got the cultist arrested.

Early this year, precisely in the month of January, the media was agog on how a Magistrate’s Court sitting in Ado in Ado Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State, remanded Mrs. Elizabeth Joseph, mother of Joshua Joseph, an SS3 Student of Toyan High School, Ere, who allegedly beat up a teacher. Looked from whichever ramifications, the point remains that mothers can go to any length to protect their children or throw their weight behind them; no matter whose ox is gored.

Without doubt, the foregoing anecdotes are not made-up or out-of-the-way. They are aptly the descriptions of how mothers’ emotional react when their children are in danger.

Again, apart from mother’s love being unconditional, it is also instinctual. It is a situation where mothers become overprotective, and want to protect their children from harm, hurt and pain, unhappiness, bad experiences and rejection, hurt feelings, failure and disappointments.

In fact, the word, Mother, alone brings forth a wealth of emotions. Perhaps you didn’t have the kind of mother you felt you wanted or needed. Maybe your mother could do no wrong in your eyes. Perhaps your mother wasn’t part of your life at all. No matter the relationship, a commonality we all share is that our mothers gave birth to us.

Without any iota of exaggeration, there are exceptions, mothers instinctively love, nurture and safeguard their children. We can even see this in the animal kingdom as a mother bear guards her cubs or a goose chases away anyone near her precious eggs.

A mother’s love is both strong and tender, and they long to see their children happy and thriving. Their heart’s desire is to step in and protect, but a wise mother also knows when to say “no” and let her child feel the painful consequence of a decision he or she has made. In this same way, our heavenly father loves his children and hears their petitions. He sometimes answers us with a “no” and often times He too, allows us to feel the pain of the consequences of our choices.

Be that as it may, my mom, never for once missed a teachable moment, and she usually told me that God gave mothers maternal instinct so that His love for us would be magnified.

A mother’s love, she said, is beyond measure, but the closest comparison is God’s sacrificial love. Years later, as a young mother myself, I found her words rang true. I love my children more than mere words can ever tell.

In fact, nothing hurts a mother more than seeing one of her children hurting, and if we could, we would gladly switch places and take their pain upon us. Mothers have a love so great and deep that they would readily die for the children they so love.

As we honor our mothers and the life they gave us, particularly since we celebrated them on the platform of Mother’s Day, let us also remember that Christ did step in to take our place and He offers us a life that is eternal.

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