As a fitting preparation for Mothering Sunday, my week has had a considerable focus on children through two school chaplaincy-related events. The first arranged by Gordon Parry (as part of his ‘day job’) for our Diocese looked at the changing context and expectations of chaplains. The second, held at Worth School and led by a brother from the Taizé Community, reflected on faith development for teenagers. One message that came through strongly in both sessions was the need to listen, listen and listen again to what young people are telling us about their experience of the world, about their experience of God and (if we’re lucky!) their experience of the church. It needs the sort of listening that a loving parent does for their child. It is a kind of listening that gets beyond the ‘surface chatter’, the glib “It’s fine” to the deeper experiences of loneliness, insecurity or uncertainty. As I reflected on this I was greatly encouraged by the knowledge of our commitment as a parish to young people and families. I felt a profound gratitude to those who have stepped forward to support (in so many ways) the vision of our church family providing a safe place (physically and emotionally) where all can feel valued and confident in exploring and growing in the realisation of God’s love for them, discovering their self-worth. A mother-like church. As Jesus hung on the cross, in his last agony, he took care to form a new bond between his mother and John. We are the inheritors of that promise and command: to be as mother and son to each other. Whether or not our experience of mothers (or motherhood) and families has been positive, we can identify with the ideal of a relationship of unconditional love. It is God’s gift.