Nurturing From The Heart


Too often, we find ourselves focusing on performance and direct actions – we boast about us/our family/our staff/someone we know on:

  • getting straight As or getting that special job/career
  • athletic
  • earning a lot of money
  • having big houses and cars
  • that we/they are special, and unlike many “usual” people out there, and more

Is there anything wrong with this list? Actually, by themselves, the list is relatively good, and will be representative of the majority of the usual population and people.

Many of us concern ourselves with how we/people we know or love perform…and as long as they do well in school or work, looking clean and good, saying “please” and “thank you”, and we think then everything’s fine and pretty.

Yet the bible says:

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Psychologist Dr Rod Cooper made a comparison between fathers that fathered for performance versus fathers that fathered the heart. For application, I’ve modified it to Nurturing For Performance versus Nurturing The Heart.


Nurturing for Performance has the following traits:

  • Emphasis on comformity
    There is a need for people to comform, to follow, with little room for creative changes or expression of individual personalities. Everyone needs to huddle together and stick together.
  • Atmosphere of fear
    Because of the disallowance of individuality, presence of control and often coming down on a “lower one”, there will often be a lingering presence or atmosphere of fear, conscious or not, where people do not, out of fear of retaliation or “being come down upon”, suppress their consciousness and conversations and expressions.
  • Parental/authoritative control
    The “authority” has the control and power in decision making, control and influence of the group at any given time.
  • Focuses on present performance
    Such as if one has done well for this project/school/exam or not, whether a person has achieve this or not. Indicative of mild awareness of timeline, not much of a creative input such as planning and creating a future, but more of time is time to do this now, and that’s what we will be evaluated on
  • Playing a role
    They “play” the roles of fathers, mothers, CEOs, bosses like a cap that can be interchanged
  • Coming down on our children/downline
    A strong berating, coming down on downline or anyone under their control and influence in bidst to manage their group, especially so in conflicts and performance management
  • Surface interaction
    There is little deep connection one-to-one or one-to-more, as such interaction requires openness. An atmosphere of fear and rigid focus on conformity and beration and maintaining status quo does not facilitate deep connections, just the basic here-and-now-surface-interaction
  • Assumes the worst
    Assuming the worst in all circumstances and people, primarily from an operational-logistical approach because of the fear-based approach.
  • Status quo
    Nothing must change, everything, everyone must stay the same, because “we have always been like this, so we stay like this” and “we cannot change, because we have always done things this way”
  • Pronouncements from on high
    A top-down perspective were the lower downs thoughts (if any, for most will be quashed) are insignificant
  • Uses people, “business relationship”
    People are building blocks of businesses and relationships, and they are to be utilized as such.


This is the approach which values resonated with mine, and has ideals that I stand up for.

  • Emphasises on transformation
    False, outer/outside actions are insufficient for me. I believe in inward transformation to an outward change of actions, so I focus more on faith, hope and love as well as taking actions that lead to a positive and progressive change.
  • Atmosphere of safety
    In a safe environment can one truly grow. If we try to cultivate or nurture plants or animals within unsafe environments, the plants and animals will end up stunted in their growth patterns and behaviors, simply because energy and nutrients will be dedicated to fending off dangers. That is why creating an atmosphere of safety is crucial, and everyone needs their safe room, their garden of eden. How we can do this is to teach in love, listen, and to speak prayerfully.
  • Freedom within boundaries
    As important as an atmosphere of safety is, there needs to be an element of boundary to ensure safety. It’s like a house – the walls are boundaries to keep the dangers of elements and other dangers out yet within the house we have full freedom to move about. When dealing with people, it’s best to give them full freedom to creatively find out and express who they are within moral, ethical and legal boundaries to ensure their own safe growth. How you do this is to teach, by communicating through words, what is right and good, and what is not.
  • Focus on future development
    Looking forward to life, love and purpose, we teach people we influence on how to look forward in life, to gather skills, experience and courage to live the best lives they possibly can, for a better future.
  • Being authentic
    We become real. No pretense, no falseness, no masks. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to laugh. It’s okay to screw and mess up. It’s okay to talk about it. We accept ourselves as who we are, and others as who they are, and we walk together, forward.
  • True communication
    True communications can only happen when there is authenticity and safe zones set up in place. Deep level connections occur when two individuals, or more, reach out to each other to connect and communicate. People feel safe, and exploratory, to find and undergo the amazement of being amazed by something new. True communications happen when there are two persons who are at peace, and sincere about each other, to exchange and find out about each other. It’s about each other, not just about themselves.
  • Believes the best
    Having faith, hope and love, we hold on believing the best in each other, and in every situation, that God is with us and that every one of us will grow to the maximum potential we have, to live the best lives possible. We choose love and believes in the best.
  • Growth and change
    Because of this, we become open to growth, to change. We develop an awareness and consciousness to want to better ourselves, our lives, not for ourselves only but for the future generations. We want to change the world for the better, that’s why we would be open to change, to learn, to adapt, without compromising our morality, ethics and spiritual path.
  • Questions and discussion
    The best way to grow is to ask better questions, and to allow stimulating conversation and true discussions and conversations, as opposed to controlling and stifling true communications. The better your questions, the better your life will be.
  • Intimacy and vulnerability
    This is about allowing people to see and experience our true selves, our personalities, our vulnerabilities. Of course, this poses as dangerous to many people…simply because we fear rejection. We become afraid that people will not like us because of who we are, and this causes us to behave unlike ourselves, following another more seemingly popular person or phenomena. To be honest, I found that when I shed all actions and behaviors of being another person, and acknowledging myself and being myself, people accept me more, though there will always be the bunch of people that will dislike you. Choose people that you want to be vulnerable to, and choose them wisely.

We all have people who look up to us, or are at least beside us, be it family members, children, co-workers, subordinates, bosses, employees whatever. There will be people looking to you and you will be given the opportunity to help them, to nurture them.

This article is to bring to awareness two different paths you may choose from. You may have experienced the path of performance, where performance is premium commodity. You may have experienced the path of the heart, where the emphasis is on personal growth. Both has their pros and cons – performance driven being short termed, fear-based, surface-level communications…but it gets the job done, and in measurable terms. Nurturing from the heart encompasses inner growth and personal development, authenticity and safety, deep connections and allows true conversations…but it tends to be a little open-ended.

In my opinion, I tend to veer towards the path of the heart, at least 75% of the time, but I am observant of data and objective measurements, which accounts for the 25% on performance.

Here’s the truth: both are important, and both have different focuses. Whichever is more important to you will have greater weigh on you. What you can learn from this article is where you stand, if you like where you stand, and if you’d like to make the switch. It’d also help you to understand the nature of the environment you work in, how and why people behave the way they do, and for you to adjust accordingly.

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