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Whatever Happened to Nurturing?

     Nurturing is a concept that seems to have become lost in our present culture.   Nurturing involves more than the provision of food, clothing, and shelter.  It is the caring and loving concern for the next generation. 

     Years ago, the community taught young women how to be mothers – how to care for children.  Now it is assumed that women automatically know how to care for children, and offers of advice or assistance may be rudely brushed aside.

     Many times I have personally witnessed a lack of nurturing among young mothers.  Have you noticed that, too?    Have you noticed mothers with crying babies at WalMart at 9 p.m. or later? Instead of mothers responding to their children and attending to their needs, the parents yell at the children and then continue looking at the items they are interested in.  Whatever happened to the thought that children need a consistent schedule for eating and bedtime?  Whatever happened to the concept of nurturing the next generation?
     How does one care for children?  On a basic level, it IS the provision of food, clothing, and shelter.  These are the basic necessities for sustenance of life.  Indeed, the American legal system requires this as a duty of the parents and legal guardians of children.  It is heart wrenching to read in the newspapers of parents who criminally neglect their children.
     Nurturing, however, goes beyond the simple provision of sustenance.  Numerous studies have been conducted that highlight the vital benefits of a mother’s nurturing.  Nurturing might best be understood as love,  and a benevolent goodwill for those in one’s care. To understand what that kind of loving care looks like the natural, we may want to look at the concept of nurturing as it is demonstrated spiritually.

     God, our Heavenly Father, is the best example of a nurturing parent.  We see this throughout the Scriptures, especially His care for His people, the Israelites. God’s nurturing of His people is also expressed in this New Testatment passage:  the incredible “…breadth, length, height and depth of the Messiah’s love” (Ephesians 3:18, Complete Jewish Bible).  

     Mothers and fathers, in following God’s example, provide the optimum environment for the development of their children:  “…parents need to provide a climate of emotional warmth, honesty, and openness as well as intellectual stimulations.” (Ketterman, The Complete Book of Baby and Childcare for Christian Parents, p. 17)  

Questions for Parents:

  • As parents  who want to be nurturing to their children, ask yourselves these questions:
  • Are we providing emotional nurturing through hugs and lots of laughter in our everyday lives?
  • What memories are we providing for our children?
  • Do we read books to the children which show basic philosophies of honest, godly lives?    
  • Do we  have a consistent bedtime and a routine that provides security and peace for our children?
  • Do we have a consistent mealtime?
  • Do we pray at mealtime?
  • Do the children have responsibilities to prepare the table for dinner  and the after-meal clean up?
  • Are we discussing life issues on a regular basis, not just when a crisis arises?
  • Are we sharing how God is impacting our lives as individuals and as a family?

May God bless you as you continue to provide a nurturing environment for your children.

Copyright © 2008-2015 Patricia Stevens

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