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A person’s environment often has a great deal to do with his or her rate of personal growth. By personal growth, it means making progress in areas like peace of mind leadership, understanding one another, loving others, patience, humanity etc. One could say that personal growth means personal development in the areas that Benjamin Franklin described as ” the 13 virtues”. Environment can often affect the rate of one person’s growth comes primarily from observing one’s personal progress or lack of it during various periods of one’s life.

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Personal growth is greatest when someone loves and nurtures us. In his best selling book A Road Less Travelled, M. Scott Peck defines love as ” the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own and others’ spiritual growth.” That is a far cry from what most teenagers (and some adults) today think love is. But it is similar to what is believe the key to providing an environment conductive to personal growth which Peck calls it “spiritual growth.”

The key concept here is “to nurture.” To nurture someone means to love, have faith in, be kind to, endorse, support, sustain and lift up. The opposite to nurture is to be harsh, critical, judgmental, to devalue, scold, condemn or be just plain not interested in someone.

If Scott Peck’s definition of love is correct, everyone will nurture those we truly love. The magic is those we nurture are more apt to experience personal growth, which is exactly what we want for them if we truly love them.

Change is always slow. Even after we decide to change (which is a big step in itself). we often find ourselves falling back into the rut of old habits. But slowly, over time, if given a healthy, peaceful and well tended garden to grow in, we can indeed grow and eventually blossom. Sometimes this growth is so slow it is hard to detect but when we can see it happening in ourselves is very fulfilling.

We would all like to see those we love experience personal growth. Nothing is more fulfilling. According to Scott Peck, that is what love is all about. Badgering someone, criticizing them or hounding them to change is not very productive, but nurturing them by creating a garden of peace, endorsement, encouragement and faith in themselves has great power. Change takes time, often years. We need to be prepared to provide years of nurturing before we expect more.

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