Focusing on that unique temperament, personality, and genetic disposition leads to your trusting your instincts about what is essential for your child and family. Focusing on that core nature will help you raise your child to adapt to anything. A child whose parents nurture the nature grows strong and learns how to flourish in any future circumstance, wherever the child may find himself or herself as an adult.
The remainder of this book proposes a new model of parenting that includes not only old wisdom but new science--science that focuses specifically on the nature of children. The psychologist Kurt Lewin taught that there is nothing so radical as a good theory. I hope you'll find in the remaining eight chapters of this book a nature-based theory that you can apply in your home. By the time you end this book, I hope you will have in hand an essential parenting blueprint.
What is an essential parenting blueprint? Nurture the Nature provides not only theory and insight but also practical tools by which you will develop a clear sense of your child's nature and, in that context, a blueprint of what is essential if you are to nurture the nature of your child. This blueprint is a plan of action that will grow from your understanding of your child's innate talents and skills, temperament and personality. It will allow you to understand the strengths of your child and to waste no more time on focusing on social, educational, or media trends that aren't right for his or her unique nature. This blueprint will develop organically in your relationship with your child and also in the many wisdom-of-practice strategies of other parents, shared with you in this book.
Your blueprint will make it a lot easier to make good choices. For example, if the Baby Einstein approach to parenting is right for your child, you'll be able to make that decision from within the truth your child is living. If it's not right for your child, you won't need to feel guilty that he or she is no genius at science.
So it is with all potential activities, missions, ideas, media--the hard work of the essential parenting blueprint really pans out once you look back after a month or so of developing it and a month or so of applying it and are able to say, "Now I understand this child. Now I see how to do right by him, by her. Now I have in place the safe life, the right teachers, the successful pathway for the person I love more than myself."
Here's an example. Karen, a mother of two in North Carolina, wrote, "When I started focusing on the actual strengths and real vulnerabilities of my two children--their core personalities, their genetics, their real abilities, strengths and weaknesses, warts and all--I discovered a deep sense of peace in my family and myself. My husband and I even changed my son's school. This had to be done. We developed rituals and relationships that make it possible to really love our kids. These wisdom-of-practice strategies, as you call them, really work."
Allan, a father of four in San Jose, wrote, "The key for me was understanding who my daughters were. I discovered your nature-based theory when I started coaching girls' soccer. My first three kids were boys, and I understood how to help them. With my daughter, there's a whole other world. When I saw who she and these other young girls are from the 'inside out,' I started knowing how to encourage them and help them succeed. It's a real good feeling, I can tell you."