According to the first chapter of 1 Samuel, Hannah, after giving birth to and weaning her first child Samuel, promptly “brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh” (v. 24). There she vowed “as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord” (v. 28) and left her boy in the care of the prophet.
According to one source, “In the East, to wean is not just to give milk, but to give the milk of the Word. This is why the children sleep with the mother until she teaches them the milk of the Word.” Others suggest it meant “when he was weaned from his mother, in the sense of being able to get along without her care.” Without any clear meaning, it is assumed that Samuel was between 6-12 years old. Regardless of the age, what we know is that he spent this time learning the ways of God, the ways to worship God. So much so that when he got to Eli, he did not miss a beat – “he worshipped the Lord there” (v. 28).
How did he know how to worship? From his mother. How strong was her influence? Strong enough that he was able to maintain true worship while in the house of Eli and his sons who were “priests of the Lord” (v. 3). Eli was an enabler and his sons were living contrary and immoral lives (1 Samuel 2:22-25). Because of his mother’s influence we are told, “But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod . . . . [he] grew before the Lord. . . . And [he] grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men. . . . And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli” (2 Samuel 2: 18, 21b, 26; 3:1).
Parents, especially mothers, whether through right instructions, prayer, being examples, or any combination, your early influence over your child(ren)’s lives are extremely significant. They often stand or fall based on what they have been taught one way or another. They live what they learn and in cases where they do not uphold truth, or follow the straight and narrow path, it is not that they have forgotten. Keep on modeling, keep on praying; they cannot outrun your prayers.