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The best gift for mom ever

Being a man who steps up includes being a man who honors his parents.  This must be important to God because it was one of the 10 Commandments (notice … not suggestions).  And, the reason this is the kind of thing a ‘Stepping Up’ man does is that it isn’t always easy.  Sometimes our parents didn’t or don’t ostensibly deserve our “honor.”  But it was not a mistake that God included this as one of the 10 Commandments.  There’s something that happens in us when we can find something to honor in our parents, if for nothing else than having us and giving us life.  Ultimately, when we honor our parents, we honor the Lord.

This is an excerpt from a book that Dennis Rainey wrote a few years ago, The Forgotten Commandment, and it was also excerpted for a website article on

Men Stepping Up | Stepping Up Blog | FamilyLife | Honor your parents

In his book, The Forgotten Commandment, Dennis Rainey encourages readers to write a formal tribute to their parents and present it to them during a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.).  Following is an example of a tribute — one that Dennis wrote to his mother.  Click here for more information on honoring your parents and for more tribute examples. 

I decided something was needed to set these words of honor apart from all the letters I had written in the past.  With Barbara’s help, I decided to have the tribute typeset and framed, making it into a more formal document. I took the finished product and mailed it home to Mom.

The Best Gift for MOM Was ME

Here’s what I wrote:

“She’s More Than Somebody’s Mother”

When she was 35, she carried him in her womb. It wasn’t easy being pregnant in 1948. There were no dishwashers or disposable diapers, and there were only crude washing machines. After nine long months, he was finally born. Breech. A difficult, dangerous birth. She still says, “He came out feet first, hit the floor running, and he’s been running ever since.” Affectionately she calls him “The Roadrunner.”

A warm kitchen was her trademark— the most secure place in the home — a shelter in the storm. Her narrow but tidy kitchen always attracted a crowd. It was the place where food and friends were made! She was a good listener. She always seemed to have the time.

Certain smells used to drift out of that kitchen — the aroma of a juicy cheeseburger drew him like a magnet. There were green beans seasoned with hickory smoked bacon grease. Sugar cookies. Pecan pie. And the best of all, chocolate bonbons.

Oh, she wasn’t perfect. Once when, as a mischievous three-year-old, he was banging pans together, she impatiently threw a pencil at him while she was on the phone. The pencil, much to her shock, narrowly missed his eye and left a sliver of lead in his cheek … it’s still there. Another time she tied him to his bed because, when he was five years old, he tried to murder his teen-aged brother by throwing a gun at him. It narrowly missed his brother, but hit her prized antique vase instead.

She taught him forgiveness too. When he was a teenager she forgave him when he got angry and took a swing at her (and fortunately missed). The most profound thing she modeled was a love for God and people. Compassion was always her companion. She taught him about giving to others even when she didn’t feel like it.

She also taught him about accountability, truthfulness, honesty, and transparency. She modeled a tough loyalty to his dad. He always knew divorce was never an option. And she took care of her own parents when old age took its toll. She also went to church … faithfully. In fact, she led this six-year-old boy to Jesus Christ in her Sunday evening Bible study class.

Even today, her age doesn’t stop her from fishing in a cold rain, running off to get Chinese food, or “wolfing down” a cheeseburger and a dozen bonbons with her son.

She’s truly a woman to be honored. She’s more than somebody’s mother … she’s my mom. “Mom, I love you.”

I knew she would like it, but I was unprepared for the depth of her appreciation. She hung it (right above the table where she ate all her meals). There was only an old clock on another wall in that room — and that clock was no rival for my mom’s tribute.

She shared it with family, the television repairman, the plumber, and countless others who passed through her kitchen. And now I share it with you.

My only regret in regards to Mom’s tribute is that I mailed it to her instead of giving it to her in person. Years later, Barbara wrote a tribute to her parents and then read it to them. Seeing that emotionally poignant moment with her parents unfold at Christmas was unforgettable. I wish I had driven home to Ozark to read my tribute to Mom — and to cry together with her.

The results of honoring my mom with a tribute were so encouraging that I began to challenge others to write tributes of their own. “Your parents need a tangible demonstration of your love now. Why wait until after they die to express how you feel?” I asked.

I never presented this idea as a magic potion or cure-all for healing difficult relationships. Yet, as people began implementing it, I started to see that honoring parents with a tribute touches something deep in the soul.  I began to see that there really was more to this command to honor parents than I realized.

As you approach an anniversary, a birthday, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, or the Christmas holidays, consider the possibility that the best present you could give to your parents would be the gift of honor.  Below you will find examples of tributes that others have written as well as links to additional articles on writing a tribute to your parents.

Wherever you are in your relationship with your parents, I encourage you to write a tribute. It may be one of the most profound, mysterious, and incredible experiences of your entire life.

Maybe the best gift for mom this year for Mother’s Day is telling her in ink how much she means to you.

Adapted with permission from FamilyLife©

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  1. Ed's Gravatar Ed
    May 17, 2013    

    I got the courage to tell my Mom I love her for the first time. I’ve never really said it before. Her reaction was priceless. Thanks for this story, it motivated me to say those wonderful words.

    • MenSteppingUp's Gravatar MenSteppingUp
      May 17, 2013    

      Ed, that is a courageous thing to do. Glad that you took that step! And, grateful our post helped you to do that. Blessings to you.

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