So the Proclamation of the Family says this: "Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children." And that's it. Nothing else about what a mother is or should be. So I've been thinking a lot about what nurture really is, because I just always thought it was to love your kids, and kiss their owies, and just generally be there for them. Which is great, but so far, it's been my experience that there is a whole lot more to motherhood than that!
So I looked up the word "nurture" in the dictionary and boy was I surprised at just how much nurture actually entails!
- Anything that nourishes; food; nutriment.
- The act or process of raising or promoting the development of; training, educating, fostering.
- All the environmental factors, collectively, to which one is subjected from conception onward, as distinguished from one's nature or heredity.
Wow! That totally changes my view of what the Proclamation says. And I think that we can, as mothers, divide our responsiblities to nurture in much the same way as the dictionary does.
- We have the responsibility to nourish our children, both physically and spiritually. We must make sure that they are fed good food and clothed. We must make sure to teach them the Gospel and help them to gain their own testimonies.
- We have the responsibility to educate our children. We must teach them about the world around them, to be good citizens in their community, to find and develop their talents, and a million other things.
- We have the responsiblity to create a nurturing environment for them by patterning our homes after the temple.
So, when I think about it that way, I just can't believe how inspired our prophet is. Look at our world...women who choose to stay home and take the responsibility to nurture their children are looked down upon. They are told they are wasting their talents--even their lives--by choosing family over career. I am not saying that we should flip that around and judge the women who have chosen to have careers, because there are millions of different circumstances. And I think a mother can still nurture wonderfully even while working outside the home. Just because I have found a way to work from home doesn't mean that I'm a superior nurturer, either...especially since I throw the kids in their room and tell them they may not come out under any circumstances until I am finished teaching my lessons!
No, I have a very long way to go before I can call myself an expert nurturer. The Proclamation says it best, though, in the words "primarily responsible." Just knowing that I am the only one who has been given this divine responsiblity for my two little girls gives me just the impetus I need to keep doing my best, day in and day out.