The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Second, to the older women. These young moms are so busy – they get together in play groups, and they talk to each other about their problems. You might think that it would be nice if they came to you sometimes. If they really sought you out for advice. And while I think that this could be a great thing, I don’t think that it is at all what this passage implies. This is not a formal course. This is not a classroom one on one situation. This is the natural way that things happen in community.
My mother (I think you know of her), taught us much growing up. This is the way it ought to be. My sister had four children already when I got married, and her fifth and my first, and Heather’s third were all born within a few weeks of each other. I gathered a lot of insight and support from them, and I am certain that this is the way it should be. But does this mean that I didn’t need this Biblical mechanism of older to younger in the broader church family? Of course not.
I have learned so much from the older women in our church. Not in a classroom – but by going to their houses for a baby shower, for dinner, for a psalm sing. I have learned about loving families from older women who brought food to us when our babies were born, from women who tell you in passing at church that this is the sweetest time, and to cherish it. I have learned from older women who put their houses together beautifully – who obviously love their homes, and then invite us all into it. I have learned from them as they gracefully travel through a hard illness, or as they face cancer armed with the peace of God.
The scope of what the younger women need to learn cannot be communicated in words. It is action. It is an older woman who bakes beautifully, whose garden is spectacular. It is the kind of thing that faithful living communicates. It encourages younger women more than you can know – it gives hope towards the future, it gives ideas and inspiration for what kind of women we want to be. But it gives it in a way that is discreet, that encourages without pressuring. It gives it in a way that is not an invitation to complain about your life or fuss about your children. It is encouragement in the best way, encouragement by example.
So older women – if you feel like you have not had a chance to talk to younger women – open your home, or take them a meal. Fulfill your own duties to your own family and in your own home in a way that overflows into the community. You don’t need to teach with words, although you can. You can simply teach with your gifts. Teach with what you love – teach with loving it still, teach by sharing your love with others.