The Need for Nurture
What does it mean to nurture?
In my backyard garden, it sometimes means to start seeds in a tray set near a sunny window inside. Then after weeks of careful encouragement, to move the resulting small plants outside into larger pots filled with rich soil where the plants can continue to grow happily and well. When the plants are bigger and stronger, I move them to my garden. If it’s a vegetable plant it moves to a protected and fenced space where it is still free to grow and produce fruit without the risk of being devoured or disturbed by woodland animals. The plant is also given support with sticks and cages as it matures and produces heavy fruit. The soil around the plant is kept clear of weeds and other plants that could choke or prevent the plant from reaching its potential. The end result of such nurture is usually fruits and vegetables that are so delicious they are worth all of the effort.
When it comes to a need for nurture, I think we can learn a lot about nurturing others by using my garden as a reference. Some people are like volunteer plants. Volunteers are the plants which spring up without any guidance from the gardener. They may sprout from seeds found in my organic compost, seeds spread by the birds and animals who wander through our yard, seeds blown in by the wind, or roots and spores produced by perennials. Some of the most beautiful plants in my garden are volunteers. Sometimes I move them to more appropriate locations. Sometimes I let them grow and move other plants aside to help them out. Sometimes I just let them be. Similarly, some people grow steady and strong no matter where they end up or what advantages they have.
Other people need a little more care. Perhaps they just need to find the right place in which to thrive. Maybe a little help from their local recruiter to secure the right job, maybe their first month’s rent to help get them settled and then they are off and happily growing, making a good life for themselves.
Then there are those who need much more. They need help getting settled. They need help finding a job. They need help fitting into their new environment. They need help finding friends. They may need a loan to get their new business venture going. They may even need help as their lives take off and really begin to produce a happy productive outcome for themselves and for others around them.
Everyone has potential. The beauty of the American dream is that it is supposedly denied to no one. However, when we consider putting limits on who can have what in order to help them rise above their circumstances, or in order for them to thrive, we may be limiting the American dream.
Let’s not do that. Let us choose to allow nurture. Some may need a little, others may need a lot. If we valued only the plants that could live and grow on their own in our gardens, wildflowers and weeds would flourish and we would not be willing to spend so much money on a delicate orchid, or a dozen roses at the flower shop. Nor would we seek out the fresh produce at the farmers market or the tasty vegetables in the organic section of our local grocery store.
Lady Liberty beckons to all with her lamp. Let us give her the chance to help all those who wish to come with good hearts and willing hands. Let us not limit the resources available to those who choose to nurture the others who come. Let us aid in the nurture of the people who continue make our land so unique: our immigrants.