Everybody knows that boys need dads. They need the male example. They need the influence of a loving male in their lives and in their homes. Well, everybody that is thinking clearly. And everybody knows that daughters need mothers. Like boys and their dads, girls need the influence and example of a loving mother. In both cases, they will perceive that they are supposed to be the boys their fathers are or the girls their mothers are.

Conversely, the epithet "mama's boy" is not intended as a compliment. Studies have shown that boys raised by a single mother have more adverse affects to deal with than girls. Face it. A single mom is certainly better than no mom, but mothers cannot teach their sons to become men.

So, it would seem like the only need for a two-parent, mother-father household in terms of the children would be if there were boy and girl children. And, as it turns out, that would be wrong.

Sons have specific needs that mothers are uniquely qualified to meet. From their mothers they tend to learn affection, compassion, nurturing, and encouragement. From their mothers, sons learn what women are like, how to understand them, respond to them, appreciate them. Dads teach different things. Fathers teach confidence, and strength; mom's teach comfort and caring. As it turns out, studies indicate that a primary problem source for wayward young men is a mother problem, not a father problem. And apparently it's not as true for girls. Boys need moms ... good moms.

Mother's Day is here, so I think this is a good place to say thanks. Kids don't pick their parents, so my first "thank you" is to God. He chose a spectacular mother for me. I have not always been a "good son". (How was that for some serious equivocation?) I needed (need) a special mother who had the care and concern and love to give me as well as the strength to tolerate me. I needed a mother who was more thoughtful than a "typical mother" because I was willing to ask my mother all sorts of things (still do) and she had to not only answer, but do it without embarrassment. (You know, when they hesitate or blush, you don't feel like asking "those" kinds of questions again, whatever "those" are.) My nature and my life choices required an unusually good mother. God gave me that.

I'm a grandfather now, but that didn't make my mother a great grandmother. She has always been a great mother, and, as time unfolded, a great grandmother. I suppose, then, that would make her a great great-grandmother. I still enjoy a uniquely rich and fulfilling relationship with my mother and I thank God and my mother for that.