Proverbs 27:18, “He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit.” Nurture! How important is that? Anything in life that undergoes the process of growth needs nurture. We were children once! It took a process called nurture to attain growth both biologically and spiritually. In the Bible, God in His infinite wisdom calls us to grow into the likeness of His son Jesus Christ. Growth needs nurture and they both assimilate to help an individual attain maturity.
When questioned individually, “Who took care of you?” Immediately someone’s name pops up in our minds. Someone who stood with us, cared for us, and took up the responsibility of nurturing us. If not for our parents, it must’ve been someone else but nurture has left its mark on us in some way or the other. But why nurture? Is it necessary?
A tree that is well-watered, nurtured in season, exposed to sufficient sunshine and rain will bear fruit in its appointed time. Jesus used this brilliant analogy in John 15:2, “…every branch that does bear fruit…He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” This is quite the Biblical example for nurture. Jesus assures us that His Father nurtures everyone who chooses Him, comes to Him, accepts Him as their Lord and Saviour. He gently draws them into His embrace, nurtures them so they might go out and bear much fruit for Him.
How is nurture important? Life is filled with so many examples. Ask the parents of a child born prematurely. Ask a budding athlete the importance of training under a coach. Ask a gardener maintaining his plants in picturesque beauty. Each of these examples demonstrates the importance of nurture. Out of the ordinary, in the mundane, monotonous workings of life, everyone has been through the process of nurture and in some way, is actively involved in nurturing. A baby suckling at its mother’s breast! A child learning the ways of the adolescent! An adult coming to terms with the responsibilities that come with a maturity of age. These examples speak volumes on the blessings of nurture.
A family needs nurture if there’s anything more important that is needed in the long run. Nurture involves love and utmost care. In a family, parents are entrusted with the responsibility to bring up their children. Suddenly we begin to realize nurture involves responsibility. Our parents are responsible for our upbringing and we are responsible for our children’s upbringing. Alonna Friedman, in her article, ‘Teaching Kids Responsibility’ offers nine simple yet profound tips on how to nurture children responsibly.
Starting early in life is the key. Children learn quickly and overtime taking responsibility can become second nature to them. If handed small and simple responsibilities as you oversee them gives them confidence in their abilities and also enables you to correct them if they’ve made any mistakes.
Enable your child to see him/her as a valuable person. How does this happen? Teach him to participate with you in the small chores at home. Teach him or her the importance of contributing to the family and show them how truly they matter.
Give your children time to develop their skills. This can only happen when you repeatedly encourage them to take part in routine tasks at home. It definitely involves practice and particular skills take time to develop. Make sure your child has enough of this. Give your children the opportunity to practice.
Unlike merely teaching your children responsibility, show them how to get involved. Do stuff that invokes their curiosity and in turn, offer them the opportunity to get involved. Children learn a lot by observing their parents. So make sure you model responsibility as you teach your kids the same.
Appreciate your children for the little things they do. Tell them how important the task was and how efficiently they had completed it. Talk in terms of value, contribution, and potential. This will also teach them that there is a measurement involved in how tasks are performed. Moreover, it will teach them not merely to complete tasks but to push harder and do well.
Help them compare how tasks are performed. Children begin to sense the difference as they learn how to perform tasks and this enables them to set a benchmark for themselves.
Reward your children adequately but remember not to overdo it. Begin to save rewards for special occasions where children are involved in tasks they normally do not do on a daily basis. This will teach them the difference between tasks that are significant and tasks that are relatively less significant.
Developing a schedule based on the needs of your children goes a long way in teaching them the importance of daily routine. The schedule must be balanced well with tasks that are rewarding and tasks that are important to get the day going. This will establish order in the way tasks are completed by them.
Teach children to take responsibility for their actions. Avoid trying to always solve your children’s problems. This will teach them, ‘cause and effect’. They begin to realize their actions have consequences. For good or bad, they begin to start taking responsibility.
Children need to be nurtured in order to grow up into responsible adults. And the above tips from Alonna Friedman gives us a fleeting glimpse of what responsibility means when raising up children. You might discover these tips to be useful or you might even discover there’s more to this. Feel free to share with us your thoughts and ideas.