My nearsightedness can be easily be traced to my father, whose myopia was genetically passed on to me. It has been said that if a person is deficient in one of his senses, the other ones are sometimes amplified to make up for it. Well, that may explain why I have a heightened olfactory sense. Just recently this "gift" was driving me crazy.
There was an awful smell in my kitchen. I repeatedly brought my husband and daughter into the room to see if they smelled it. Both initially said "no," but eventually said that maybe they smelled something. I even brought another person in to see if he smelled it. His conclusion, "You have a very good sense of smell, but I don't smell anything."
I tried to identify the source of the odor. I thoroughly cleaned the kitchen, sanitized the garbage disposal, and removed potential culprits. Nothing seemed to work and after a while the smell disappeared. Then a couple of days ago, the house was filled with a swarm of small flies that made me feel like a ninja because they were so easy to swat. (Normally, I fail in achieving a successful swat!)
A Google search led me to the conclusion that what I had smelled may have been an animal that had died and was decomposing in the wall or under the house. The appearance of the flies, suggested my Google counselors, was evidence of that. It was encouraging to know that we could swat the flies and they would be gone before long. And, they were.
I share this story because it points to another sense of "smell" that a hands-on mom has regarding her children. A mother has a sense of when something isn't quite right with one of her children. Others may not see it and even dismiss her concerns. But, a diligent mom will continue to investigate and work to unearth the problem. While she may never get to the root, there may be evidence that her suspicions are accurate - "flies" may show up to confirm her sense that more was going on than what others could see.
I believe all mothers have the capacity to relate to their children this way, but they lose it or fail to develop it if they are not the main person raising the child. So many things can go undetected if there isn't a sense of what is "normal" for a particular child. Assuming that child psychologists and their disciples know more than she, and deferring to their expertise, only lessens this God-given instinct and causes a mom not to trust what she senses when others don't agree.
Proverbs 1:7-9 states,
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
The mother's role is to know the Law of God and to establish it as the law of her household. When she notices a "bad smell," she needs to get to the root of where and how God's law is being violated or misapplied. The Scripture gives her this responsibility and when exercised in a godly way results in her family's acknowledgements of her inestimable worth.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all (Proverbs 31:28-29).
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].