1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—
Today, I’m pondering a phrase Enos used to describe the way his father raised him: “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The Apostle Paul used the same phrase when he taught parents how they should raise their children (Ephesians 6:4). In my mind, “nurture” and “admonition” represent different (and complementary) aspects of parenting:
- To nurture a child is to help them grow. This includes providing for their physical needs, including food, clothing, and shelter, as well as providing education and training. It also includes protecting them from influences which could harm them, particularly when they are young and unprepared to face those influences. Nurture is primarily about our actions as parents.
- To admonish a child is to remind them of what they should do and to urge them to do it. Admonition includes setting high expectations and communicating clearly when the child is falling short. It does not include harshness or anger, but it does include a willingness to deliver difficult messages with clarity (D&C 121:41-44). Admonition is primarily about the child’s choices and actions.
I see both nurture and admonition in the following description of the responsibilities of parents:
Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, September 23, 1995).
Today, I will consider how I am both nurturing and admonishing my children. I will ensure that I am providing an optimal environment for them to grow. I will also ensure that I’m giving them helpful feedback, to guide them in making choices which enable them to achieve their full potential.