Jenny Fox | 98five blogger
A while ago my husband picked up some rose bushes, hugely discounted because they had been neglected. They looked awful, nearly dead.
He proudly brought them home but I wasn’t sure if they would prove a good buy; if they would produce the flowers we hoped for.
After pruning, planting, fertilising, watering and feeding, in just six weeks we had beautiful roses on flourishing bushes. One bush had 10 flowers out at once.
The plant was the same one that looked like death, only the environment changed.
Nature versus nurture has long been an argument in considering the way a person develops toward adulthood.
It’s no doubt that genes play a huge part in determining who we become, but as we can’t change the influence that comes from there, it’s worth looking at the nurture side of the equation — the environment we live, work and play in.
We need to pay attention to the environments around our children’s lives and around our own life.
What sort of environment is in your home, your child’s school, your work, your social setting?
A good environment makes things grow. For our kids and us, if the environment is good, we will grow, we will produce good things in our lives and we will know success.
What sort of environments should we avoid?
We probably all think of angry, violent, abusive environments as ones we can agree are destructive, but what about the less obvious, critical, suspicious, ungrateful, disrespectful, passionless, busy, and isolated environments?
Some environments can bring out the best in us, some are toxic, and some are in-between, not much happens there, and no real progress is made towards being a better person, just existing.
Some environments I might be stuck in, some I can change by my attitude, and some I can choose.
What do we need to flourish?
Well, those rose bushes needed good soil, so we need to be planted somewhere, connected where there is security, acceptance and value placed on us, we need to belong and feel like we matter.
That sounds basic but are we giving that to our kids, are we getting it for ourselves?
Next we need nurture, tending, pruning, support, love, understanding, attention, compassion.
We need water and food that’s nourishment for our soul. It’s different things for different people, doing what we enjoy, activities and interests. For some: time alone; for others: interaction with others.
We even need fertiliser. And life seems to heap plenty of that on us. Things that we might not like, things that smell but things that make us stronger!
Who we spend time with, choose to relate to, has a big affect on the environment of our lives.
One of the great things we can do in life is choose friends that are the sort of people we want to become. Not those that have the sort of job we admire, or house or income we want, but the sort of values we hold, and the character traits we aspire to. We can find people who encourage us, speak well of us, value us.
Once we went to grab a coffee from a shop at Mandurah foreshore, we saw some friends were also there, a few people ahead of us in the line.
We ordered our coffee and the girl told us it was already paid for by our friend ahead of us. How cool was that? That reminded me that I have great friends. I have people who exhibit great qualities in their everyday lives.
The employee actually commented that she wished she had friends like ours. These sorts of people exist, and are worth looking for, we found friends like these at our church. Together we set an example of brilliant living for their kids and ours.
Get to know families who are on the same page with your family goals and parenting expectations. Provide opportunity for them to spend time with kids that are becoming young people of integrity and character.
It’s a great thing in life to look at where you want to be in the future and work backwards. My husband saw the rose bush flourishing long before it actually happened, and he worked out what he needed to add to the environment to make that a reality.
What do you need to add to your environment, to your home, to your friendship groups, to your children’s experience? Time passes very quickly and kids grow fast, let’s not wait until they’re grown to think what sort of people we want them to be. Start now and give them the best environment you can for them to become all that they can be.
Jenny is the mother of three grown children and lives with her husband in beautiful Mandurah. She is passionate about family, hers and yours, and loves to share wisdom gathered over years of living family life. thewisefox.com | Follow Jenny on Facebook
As Jenny mentioned, she found some great friends from within her church community, if you would like to join or explore church communities, head to our Find a Church directory or contact us for help in finding a church near your home.