Monday, May 07, 2012

The Call of Nurture

Ahhhh...the nature versus nurture debate.

As a former student of Sociology as well as Family & Child Studies, I learnt a fair bit on the topic of nature versus nurture.

In case you are not familiar with exactly what this means, well, I'll tell ya!

Basically, it refers to what makes a person who they are: nature (their DNA, genetics) or nurture (their upbringing/society).

Clearly, both affect human beings to make them who they are at any given time. But there is much debate about certain things and the roles that nature and nurture play - and to what degrees.

The most common way that researchers study this topic is to study identical twins. Really, this is the only way that the variable of nature - or DNA -  is controlled because identical twins have - of course - identical DNA.

And then to make matters more difficult, twins in these studies are often ones that have been separated at birth for one reason or another - usually through the foster care / adoption system. This way, researchers can study the ways in which each twin was raised and compare their characteristics.

If these identical twins were raised together...would they be so different?

For example, there is great debate whether homosexuality is inherent in a person's genes or if it has more to do with how the person was raised.

Now I happen to believe that it is generally genetic; that people are (to borrow a phrase from Lady Gaga of all people) "born this way".

And I am not going to go and site a bunch of studies to support my view. I am not trying to convince anyone of anything here.

So what am I trying to do? I am not really sure.

I just think the nature versus nurture topic quite fascinating.

I think what really is important in all of this is that we learn to accept whatever nature gives us...or our children...and then nurture that...rather than fight it.

So many people are unhappy with the body, the personality, the whatever that we were born with that they do whatever they can to - what I would like to call here - UN-nurture it. To change it. To constantly be at odds with it. To not accept it.

Many with curly hair want straight hair. Many with straight hair long for curls. If ya got blonde hair ya want it red and if ya got red hair ya want it brown and so on, and so on and so on.

Yes...I am a natural blonde. But I get help.
Why am I sad? 'Cause my roots look horrendous!
That's why I cropped them out of the shot peeps!

Now I am not saying that you should stop highlighting your hair. I know I won't any time soon.

But if your child comes to you hating on her "big nose" at the age of 8, then there are a number of ways you can respond to that.

You can agree.

Or you can start to focus on the other wonderful qualities about your child - and not just those having to do with physical appearance.

I am realizing that this is kind of a ramble. And it is not going to be tied up in a nice, pretty little bow.

It is gonna end with this little piece of twine I found that is rather short, so I am just gonna knot it.

(Lucky for you, nature calls!)



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