I think I was a nurturer in the womb.
I became a nurturer most definitely after my brother was born when I was not yet fourteen months old. I hadn’t elected to walk by then, waiting until I was sixteen months old to walk because I was so “nurture hungry.”
Perhaps this is part of the reason I don’t usually expect nurturing and yet I love it so much.
Last week at my story circle we “wrote” an improvisational piece about “our other mothers.” These are the people who take care of us, who may reach out to us when we need some tenderness or caring guidance. Each woman in the circle contributed one single line to the story.
I kicked it off saying. “Once upon a time, there was a middle aged woman who always felt comforted when someone covered her lovingly with a blanket.”
Such a simple act yet so heavenly.
When care taking is offered and received with love, nurturing is a natural outpouring. It isn’t something we think about necessarily, it just happens.
When we become nurturers, we teach others to nurture us as well. It is like Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “That which we are, we shall teach, not voluntarily, but involuntarily.”
We show love and nurturing when we show up, when we notice, when we choose to put someone else’s needs at least as high as our own.
Nurturing is not a gender thing, it is an intentional love thing.
When I grade papers for students who haven’t yet mastered English, I focus on their strengths first before I critique their weaknesses. They are born with a different language and learn English as adults. I aim to nurture them into better speakers and readers and communicators. If I focused on what was wrong, I am concerned they would end their process prior to a positive completion. I choose to be a nurturer.
Nurturing isn’t only for people in “helping” professions, it is for all of us.
When I originally wrote this, Emma was preparing for her senior prom. It was the next weekend and she had the dress and the shoes. Next was the final prep including a plan for her hair and makeup. The Saturday before, a friend was at our house, helping her to get her make up just right. Some people might say this is over the top, that a seventeen-year-old girl should take care of it all herself.
I see it differently: making a fuss over her means I value her and want her to feel valued as well.
As a parent, nurturing a child’s sense of value and worth is one of the most important things we can do. How many adults do you know who don’t feel valued or esteemed? Ask your friends about their level of confidence. Their responses might surprise you.
As parents, nurturing goes beyond providing food, clothing and shelter. Nurturing includes compliments, redirection and teaching your child to make painful and important choices.
This morning I went to coffee at one of my favorite local haunts. The clerk told me I looked cheerful today. I though I looked warn out. My hair in a ponytail, wearing a t-shirt and capris, I didn’t think I looked like anything except my busy mommy role.
She took a moment to compliment me “You look chipper today!” and I took a moment to hear her and receive her words.
In doing so, we were both nurturing one another.
Nurturers make the world a better place.
Who have you nurtured today?
Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world. She is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people’s creative lives.
To contact Julie to schedule a Writing or Creative Life Coaching Session, call or text her at 661.444.2735.
Check out her social media channels, especially if you find the idea of a Word-Love Party bus particularly enticing.