Nurturing - Nurturing Family and Self Nurturing
The word "nurturing" is filled with wonderful implications. Nurturing means to foster: help develop, help grow; rear: bring up; raising: the properties acquired as a consequence of the way you were treated as a child; nourish: provide with nourishment; breeding: helping someone grow up to be an accepted member of the community. In the wiktionary, the "nurturing" definition is explained as "The act of nourishing or nursing; tender care; education; training; that which nourishes; food; diet; The environmental influences that contribute to the development of an individual; to nourish or nurse; and in nature, the kind of care given to the young by the female." When you look at all of these implications of nurturing, the meaning becomes very rich and something to aspire toward. It is even used in the context of marketing, when people do "lead nurturing", which simply means following up with and staying connected to people in business. We can nurture at any level!
Of course, when women think of nurturing, we automatically think about nurturing children. It's natural, especially as a woman, to focus on nurturing children. But, nurturing should also take on the dimension of self-nurturing - which tends to be something most women push off as being selfish or self-consumed. The truth is that in order to nurture properly, we must first be nurtured ourselves. If we've come from a home where we had a nurturing mother, then nurturing tends to be something we do because it was modeled and because we were the recipients of nurturing. It is built-in, in most cases. However, if we were nurtured by a mother who was something of a martyr, not caring as well for herself as she did for her children, then we can tend the same way.
So, it is important to be self-nurturing as well as nurturing toward our children. Self-nurturing, if we will refer to the definition above, may be something as simple as educating ourselves in an area where we feel we lack knowledge. It can also be caring for our bodies tenderly, eating nourishing foods and doing daily exercise to ensure our health and bodies are in top condition. Self-nurturing can be settling down with a great book and not upbraiding ourselves because we've taken some time out to read and enjoy the mental getaway a good book provides. A massage, a warm bubble bath, and a pedicure are all ways to take care of yourself.
The Nurturing Family
A nurturing family is one where every member of the family, from the parents to the children, right down to the pets, are beneficiaries of the care and tenderness that helps people become the best they can be. We all know people who have come from homes that are broken or hostile. It may be overt or it may be subliminal. The children seldom smile and often feel very insecure and unloved. On the contrary, a nurturing family is a one where each person is valued and has learned to value themselves as well. The environment can be created, but it must begin with parents who love and value themselves and each other first. Then, it filters down through them to the children. Nurturing is often caught rather than taught. For instance, a family who is a "green family" teaches their children to nurture ecology, taking care to protect the environment and care for all living things. By imparting these things to the children, the children learn to nurture pets, gardens, and to care for the environment. It all works together.
We can all gain from the insight of others and often find the things they say and do can be nurturing to ourselves, even though we don't know the people. That's the importance of sharing the good things in our lives with others, and educating and training ourselves through the experiences and education of other people. There are many places we can gather nurturing quotes from, and spend time meditating on them in order to enrich our own lives. One such nurturing quote follows:
"Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible - the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family."
Virginia Satir (American Psychologist and Educator 1916-1988)