Devotion in Motion: Are you a thermostat mom?

9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; It shall rejoice in His salvation.

Psalm 35:9 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

Well, this may be the last column I ever write for nwaMotherlode. It may be my last column because it’s probably going to get me fired. You see, what I’ve got to say today is not going to be politically correct. It’s not the sort of thing people are used to reading, now that the world is made up of all the liberated ladies of the new millennium. I’m afraid what I have to say today may even be considered a tad chauvinistic. But I think there’s a lot of truth in it, so here goes:

 “Mothers are the people who set the atmosphere for the home.” 

That sounds very old-fashioned when you say it out loud. But we firmly believe it at the country church down here in the Deep South. In fact, we even have our own version of the adage. Perhaps you’ve read it on a bumper sticker:

If you don’t believe me (or the people of The Magnolia State) just ask any dad about the most frightening days of his married life. If he’s honest, he’ll tell you about the time when mom came home from the booster club meeting  at 8 p.m. and discovered that nobody had bathed, done their homework, or had supper yet.

Or maybe he’ll relate the saga of how Mama found out that Daddy was an accessory to the crime when the Third-Grade-Science-Exam-Study-Sheet got left in the other vehicle the night before semester exams. Ask Dad about these things, and maybe he’ll tell you about them. But don’t count on it. Most people don’t like to talk about things that are so painful to remember.

Now anybody can have a bad day sometimes. But the way I see it, there are two kinds of mothers. Some mothers are thermometers, and some mothers are thermostats. Thermometer mothers just react to the atmosphere that’s already present; in a hot-tempered situation, their temperature (and blood pressure) rise to match their combative surroundings.

But thermostat mothers are different. If a situation is too hot, they try to dial the temperature down with patience and kindness. And if a situation is too cold, they strive to warm up the room with love and compassion. The most wonderful thing of all is this: Each day you get to make a new choice about which type of mother you’ll be.

So this week, ask the Lord to help you throw out the thermometer and become a thermostat mom. Because when Mama is happy, the whole household is happy, too.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 26 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he has a desk-job at a public school and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 20) and Seth (age 17) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the mamas says that men need to be thermostats, too.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to

1 Comment

  1. Ah, so true that moms can definitely set a tone. But are you saying that in the case of your mom coming home and finding the family unbathed and unfed she should have stayed calm and forgiven the obvious lack of respect that was shown to her? I know when that kind of thing happens at my house it is impossible to “be happy” and carry on as if nothing were out of order. I don’t yell or lose control of my temper, but I guarantee you that it makes me very unhappy and others can tell. If it is a mother’s job to make life pleasant for the rest of the family, surely it’s not expected that she do so at the expense of her own well-being and needs.

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