Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Nature versus Nurture... Who do you think WINS?

Yesterday my grade schooler was telling me all about things that are hereditary. It took him a moment but he finally was able to tell me the word he was thinking about..."hair, air, HEREDITARY!" He was specifically mentioning how certain flowers inherit traits from other flowers. It was such a sweet moment as I watched his mind at work. I mentioned to him that we share the same mole on our left cheeks which meant he surely inherited that physical trait from his momma's genes. 

I later got to thinking about genes and what our children inherit from us parents; bringing me to think about the whole concept of Nature vs. Nurture. I grew up with a temperamental father and I can be pretty temperamental myself, but part of me believes this behavior is learned. Still growing up my mother often rationalized mine and my siblings behaviors by saying "they're just like their father!" It almost gave our temperamental behaviors an excuse.

But I can control my temperament, I believe it isn't something I inherited, I believe it's something I learned. I don't think it is my nature or something that came as part of a gene pool, but rather apart of my upbringing. I watched my father behave a certain way, but by no means did that mean I could be the same way because I was "just like him."

With that said, I wonder just how much of who we are is pre-programmed in our genes or simply just learned behavior? I look at my oldest and often see me... he can be silly, loud, impatient and shy! All things identify with who I am, correction, almost all of those identify with who I am. I chalk up the shyness to his daddy. Still, I don't like the idea of just saying, "oh he's just like that." 
"Money See, Monkey Do!!!"
What's my point? I believe nurture wins in the battle between nature versus nurture! I believe that every child will of course inherit physical and personality traits, but children shouldn't be solely defined by these characteristics and labeled by them. For instance, children who are shy can be outgoing and children who are rambunctious can be calm. I believe we can nurture these opposing behaviors in our children, while still allowing children to be who they naturally are. My point is not to use "nature" as a crutch for not developing helpful personality traits. Like in everything, there's a balance, and we can all be productive and happy individuals who are a product of  both nature and nurture!

Share with us your take on nature vs. nurture?
Who you think would win the battle among both?   

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