Nurture and Support

I was thinking this morning on what it means to “nurture” and “support”.

It occurred to me that many individuals confuse responsibility and obligation with being nurturing.

When you choose to have a child you become obligated to care (literal not figurative) for that child. At the least you must perform actions as required by law.

Feed, clothe, maintain its health, educate it – if only out of self-interest so the child doesn’t remain dependent on you any longer than necessary.

None of those actions is nurturing, they should be natural actions of any mammal for its young. Of course we only have to watch the news about how horribly children are abused to see the lie in that assumption.

What then is nurturing?

Nurturing are those acts you take that enhance the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual status or development of another. Nurturing can be as simple as “Good Job!”, as difficult as an intervention for an addict, or as painful as holding the hand of the dying.

Nurturing means being there for someone else when you DON’T have to be.

Some people mistakenly believe that every act of self sacrifice is nurturing.

However sometimes self sacrifice falls under your aforementioned responsibilities and obligations.  For example, going to your child’s parent/teacher conference instead of out to see a movie. Not nurturing, just obligation. Or not spending $75 on a new pair of shoes so you can buy school supplies. Not nurturing, just obligation.

What then is “support”? Support is the action part of nurturing.

A quick clarification – “Moral support” isn’t support. It’s wishful thinking.

It is akin to saying “I wish you well and success in your endeavors” – lip service, not support.

Support are those tasks you undertake to assist another in the completion of theirs, without actually doing theirs.

Frequently this can be thought of as a team, people supporting each other towards a common goal.

Like nurturing, people often assume that they are “supporting” someone simply because they said, “I support you”.

For example –

Spouse 1: “Honey, I have a really big and very important project I’ll be working on for the next two months. I could really use your support on this.”

Spouse 2: “Of course dear, you know you have my support!”

….Sometime later….

Spouse 1 returns home at late having been gone since 5am

Spouse 1: “Honey, did you make dinner?”

Spouse 2: “No dear.”

Spouse 1: “Ok, I’ll just fix myself something.”

Spouse 1: “Honey, I’m not seeing anything in the fridge except some left over curry I brought home last week.”

Spouse 2: “Yeah, we need to go shopping.”

….Another Day….

Spouse 1 returns home after another exhausting day.

Spouse 1: “Honey, I’m really hungry. Did you go shopping?”

Spouse 2: “No, but there’s some leftover sushi from lunch in the fridge.”

Spouse 1: “Ok, but I can’t find any dishes…”

Spouse 2: “Yeah, the dishwasher needs to be loaded.”

Spouse 1: “Did you unload the pots and pans?”

Spouse 2: “No, I never got to it.”

….Sometime later….

Spouse 1: “Honey, I’m really hungry. Did you go shopping?”

Spouse 2: “No, but I haven’t eaten either, let’s just order in.”

Spouse 1: “Ok, what do you want to eat?”

Spouse 2: “Oh, I don’t know – but no pizza or chinese…”

Spouse 1: “Ok…no pizza or chinese…any other thoughts?”

Spouse 2: “No, not really. I could go for some steak.”

Spouse 1: “Steak delivery………Ok, where from?”

Spouse 2: “Oh, I don’t know, can’t you look it up on the internet?”

Spouse 1: “……………Alright, I’ll go look……..”

You get the idea. Substitute any task that Spouse 1 can’t complete because they are too busy working on the important project they told Spouse 2 about.

Spouse 1 gave Spouse 2 a heads up, Spouse 2 said no problem.

If Spouse 2 had been honest and said “I wish you well and success in your endeavor, however I will not be able to support your efforts”, then at least Spouse 1 would know they were on their own and could adjust their lifestyle and behaviours accordingly.

Once you know you can’t rely on someone for support, 1) you don’t have to deal with the disappointment of the support being lacking or non-existent, and 2) you can make all the necessary arrangements yourself.

I have more to say on this subject, but I’ve got a headache and am tired of thinking…L8R

Posted on 2009-07-08, in Personal Ruminations and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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