A good stepmother deserves as much praise and honor as a true mother. Most parents know that it is not easy to raise their own children, let alone someone else’s. Disconcerting problems arise daily. A stepmother assumes all of a mother’s problems, and many times under the most trying circumstances. Her fortune is often made difficult by the attitude of the late mother’s relatives.
…Mothers are not perfect. As such we should not expect to have perfect stepmothers either. In general, they perform more than satisfactorily. Many times stepmothers undertake duties about which they know little and often they are not adequately prepared to fulfill them. In addition, they must accustom themselves to children who are not their own; they must learn each child’s disposition, characteristic, whims, and emotions—hardly an easy task. Often they even must face resentment from the wounded children whom they are seeking to comfort and help.
The stepmother needs to be as wise as Solomon in settling disputes among siblings, determining each child’s rights and privileges, and in knowing when to draw the line in the family. She needs to know how to benevolently occupy her rightful place in the home, and to maintain the love and respect of her husband.
The woman who enters a home and serves as a mother to children that are not her own, who never interferes between her husband and his children, who directs the children in the right path and tries to prevent them from going astray, is indeed worthy of great honor.
When Nancy Hanks Lincoln died at the age of thirty-five, Thomas Lincoln constructed a coffin of hand made boards and buried his beloved wife in a neighboring clearing in the woods. Little Abe Lincoln and his sister Sarah descended that mount in bewilderment, cleaving to each other in their sorrow. During the next year, Sarah, despite her young age, tried to care for their home as best as she could. One day, her father left for a week, and, upon his return, brought them a new mother—Sally Bush Johnson. Greater happiness and blessings have rarely befallen any home.
Love begets love. Children will respond to their maternal care. Sally Johnson knew how to cook and sew. She made, among other things, Abe’s first fur cap. She taught the children how to read with the three books she had, and told them about the difficulties they might have to confront during their lives. She inspired in them dreams and ambitions. Her success as a stepmother may be summarized in a statement written years later by the great president: “All that I am, and ever hope to be, I owe to my dear mother.” Sally Bush Lincoln outlived her illustrious son by four years, and thus was able to see the favorable results of her life of sacrifice in his behalf.
Most children are loving and forgiving. Almost without exception, they will respond positively to a loving, kind, and understanding stepmother.
When God will gather up his children and distribute their rewards, he will nor forget the faithful stepmother who sought to replace, as far as possible, a mother taken from her children.