Nurturing • Thanks Mom
Debbie Kerr | Office Administrator
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 KJV)
When I think of the word nurture regarding parenting my mind immediately thinks of mothers. Nurturing comes naturally to women and traditionally, mothers spend the most time with the children. My mom still nurtures me even in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s. I am not sure she is even aware of it, but it is her nature as my mother. Growing up, my mom was the disciplinarian, and my dad was the fun parent. He would never allow my mom to “hold off” disciplining or say “wait until your father gets home!” He did not want his daughters to dread his homecoming. My mother was perfectly suited to be the disciplinarian and did it like a boss, but my dad knew how to nurture and admonish as well. He would step in when needed, but she pretty much got the job done! Regardless of who did the disciplining, they always made sure we knew we were intensely loved before we were dismissed. None of us rebelled because their discipline was wrapped in a huge soft blanket of unconditional love, with the addition of a godly teachable moment. Otherwise, it is known as nurture and admonition in perfect harmony.
By definition “to nurture” means many things. The Webster’s Dictionary’s list includes: To train, nourish, care for, educate, encourage, support, nurse, comfort and cultivate, just to name a few. God gives us eighteen plus years to accomplish this as parents. It is nurture that takes a baby completely dependent on us into independent adulthood.
So, what does nurturing in the Lord look like? In Deuteronomy 6:7-9 God described to Moses, the Patriarch, what it looks like to raise a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He told Moses, “You shall teach them (the law and statutes of the Lord) diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between our eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” God wanted Moses and the Israelites to know that living a life of God’s principles is a 24/7 thing. It is not just reserved for an hour on Sunday morning; it must be consistent and a part of everything we say and do. What children learn and see modeled in the home will often outweigh all other influences. You cannot depend on the church solely to raise your children, but they will be a huge support and add to your efforts.
A great verse of encouragement given to parents is Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” There is no such thing as a perfect parent, we fail and make mistakes. However, when we follow God’s blueprint for parenting, we will have a higher spiritual success rate. Parenting is one of the highest callings a person can receive. It is long, amazing, exhausting, exuberant, exhausting, blissful, exhausting; you get my point! Parents and grandparents, we have an amazing opportunity to help nurture and shape the next generation to the glory of God. It is a priceless investment that yields an eternal return!