And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Monday, February 4, 2013

Nature Vs. Nurture

Ahh it's an age old debate. Nature vs. Nurture. Are we who we are because we were born with those attributes or are we who we are because of the way we were brought up? It's a deep topic for sure. I lean to the nature side of the debate but I believe we are a product of both. God created us to be who we are. He gave us a specific personality, introvert or extrovert, and He gave us special interests and talents. I also believe He created each of us for some very specific purposes.

Example of nature- I share an immense amount of common personality traits with my very sweet cousin who is several years younger than me. Although we've always known one another and we've seen each other at least a few times a year our whole lives, we grew up in very different situations. Our immediate families were very different. She had 2 siblings, I had none. Her family went to church all the time. Mine didn't. Her dad was super strict and they weren't allowed to watch very much television or listen to secular music. I loved Janet Jackson and Vanilla Ice and watched Solid Gold and Jem. However she and I are SO similar that our family calls her my "mini-me." We are responsible. We are LOUD. We speak our minds. We worry about what others think. We worry about everyone else in our family. By nature, by God's creation, we are similar. Most of our shared traits have little to nothing to do with the nurture we received.

Now that being said I do believe that the nurture we receive and our surroundings contribute greatly to many of our choices. If we are praised in an area of our lives we can become confident in that area and make choices involving that confidence. If we are constantly slammed about an area of our lives then we will make different choices. So in The Language of Blessing Joseph Cavanaugh III gives us some great insight into nurturing the nature of those around us. I will admit I am not good at that. My friend Betty is fantastic at finding just the right thing to say. She's so encouraging. She was Apple's Wednesday night teacher for a long time and Apple just thrived around her. Betty could always think of something kind and uplifting about Apple's art or outfit. Betty was able to nurture Apple by seeing what things were part of the nature God gave her.

The Language of Blessing will be an amazing blessing (imagine that) in your relationship with your children, your spouse, your neighbor, your co-worker, anyone that could use an encouraging word from you. Cavanaugh points out some specific ways to see our own (and other's) God given talents. Then he gives you realistic ways to impart blessing upon those around you. He isn't asking you to be fake or give false praise, he shows you how to make real statements of blessing. Blessings are more than what you say after a sneeze, more than what you receive at church, and worth more than we realize. There are some wonderful passages of blessing in the Bible. I always think of the blessing that Jacob stole from Esau and of course the Lord's blessing to the children of Israel comes to mind:

Numbers 6:22 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:
24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’
27 “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

What words of affirmation! What security and peace comes just from reading them! So then if the Lord blesses us with His words (He just did) then we should impart those same blessings upon others. To learn more check out The Language of Blessing by Joseph Cavanaugh III.

I received this book from Tyndale Publishers for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

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