According to researcher Virginia Held, human mothering shapes language and culture and forms human social personhood. Human motherhood also develops morality, consideration for others, and creates the platform from which children begin to fly on their own – to become autonomous. Although it is women who have primarily engaged in this mothering activity, fathers are also engaging in motherhood activities in contemporary families. This is good!
Mothering is synonymous with nurturing, which is virally important in the early years when developing a child’s optimism, self-esteem, spirit, and capacity for giving and receiving love are formed.
Mothering involves nurturing and guiding the attributes of caring, empathy, and generosity toward others, as well as laughter, joy and friendship. I believe we are neglecting a critical point here, toward empowering children to inhabit socially significant qualities of personhood, if we fail to show them how to reach out to others in love, peace and compassion, all of which are learned behaviors. Just as important, is how we nurture a child’s conscience for right and wrong conduct and help guide their “inner voice” or the moral goodness of a child’s character and intentions.
“Children know there is a God, and He inhabits a very special place in their hearts,” according to renowned author Robert Coles in his book, The Spiritual Life of Children. One cannot talk about heart without talking about God’s world of structure, guidelines, goodness, values, acceptance and unconditional love. Steven Covey called spiritual leadership “leadership with meaning while developing the whole person.” I do not believe we can expect to talk about the fullest human leader potential in children without discussing Godly values and principles. Children need and want spiritual direction and stability, while developing their inner-most human potential.