The Book of Nurturing by Linda and Richard Eyre is My Favorite Parenting Book

The Book of Nurturing by Linda and Richard Eyre is My Favorite Parenting BookWe received this The Book of Nurturing as a gift from my parents back before we had children. Mom and Dad have always been big fans of the Eyres, allegedly raising us based on the stuff they picked up from the Eyre’s many books. We read it, found it interesting, and decided it was all good stuff.

And then we started having children.

Talk about a dose of reality. Kids are messy, unique, and rarely act how you predict…at least, so it seems. My degrees are in political science and law, not marriage and family development, and though I’m the oldest of six, I doubt anything really prepares you to have kids, except, perhaps having kids. By that time, it’s on the job training.

With The Book of Nurturing: Nine Natural Laws for Enriching Your Family Life, though, it’s clear that the Eyre’s get this.

We opened the book again recently, six years into our sojourn as parents, and started reviewing what we had read before becoming parents. “Does it actually apply?” “Have we even used any of this?” and “Does it have any secrets for getting kids to stay in bed?” were questions that crossed our minds as decided to review what we had read before. Instead of hard and fast techniques for getting your kids to do what you want, the Eyres provide some basic principles for building strong families, share anecdotes from their long career in the parenting advice field (I think they also have something like a bazillion kids, too, so they might know something about parenting), and give you some questions to ask yourself about how you want your family to look and act.

As a wise man once said, “I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves.” The Eyres law out a few (or nine) and let you figure out what matches your family situation–whatever that situation is–and let you figure it out yourself.

To make it interesting, or maybe it’s the hook, the Eyres have gone to nature to find examples of each principle. Whales for communication (they communicate over long distances), geese for sticking together and looking out for each other, crabs for avoiding criticism, and the tortoise and the hare for teaching and living consistency, and so on.

When we pulled out the book again, we decided to use it in cooperation with our children, which, coincidentally, is along the lines of how the Eyres suggest it be used. We would read about each animal or principle from nature, watch a short nature film about the animal that demonstrated the principle, and then talk with the kiddos (6, 3, and 10 months) about how it applies.

Stop laughing! We did, and it worked. Sure, the 10 month old didn’t have a ton to contribute, but the six-year old and the three-year old were riveted as we would watch the geese herding their goslings across a crowded road of stopped traffic, honking at the cars to stay back until each of the babies was across and to safety. We told them that Mom and Dad would always put them first, that we stick together, and we look out for one another.

Would you believe my surprise when a year and a half later (we started going through the book with them a year or so ago) the six-year old busted out all of the principles and what they meant? I was so excited that she remembered them that I about served her a heaping bowl of ice cream right there and then.

Parenting is hard, but so very worth it. I figure that the most difficult years are ahead of us, still, but with any luck, and some consistent application of these principles, the kids might turn out okay. Buy The Book of Nurturing, read it, apply it, and enjoy the wonder years.

The Book of Nurturing: Nine Natural Laws for Enriching Your Family Life Book Cover The Book of Nurturing: Nine Natural Laws for Enriching Your Family Life
Linda and Richard Eyre
April 22, 2003

All parents want to teach their children good values. But beneath that desire lies a greater need--for a bond of love and trust that keeps children safe, and lets parents participate more fully in their children's lives.

Linda and Richard Eyre, hosts of a monthly segment on the "CBS Early Show," help parents accomplish this in The Book of Nurturing, presenting tools for developing family relationships and turning a house into a home.

They have crafted nine powerful lessons based on stories and parables that can preserve family values and give children a sense of worth and self-esteem, based on:

  • Commitment
  • Praise, support, and positive affirmation
  • Responsibility
  • Awareness
  • Communication
  • Discipline (tough love)
  • Consistency
  • Security and identity
  • Freedom and empowerment

Parents will recognize the wisdom of the nine natural laws and will appreciate the workability of the ideas and application methods. Children will love the images of animals and nature and will feel included and responsive to their parents' initiatives. In a sense, this is a whole new genre of parenting book--written both for parents and for children, giving them a common language of symbols that they can share and use together to build their relationships and strengthen their family.

About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.