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Monday, November 7, 2011

#GBE2: Nature vs. Nurture

The question, "Which is more important Nature or Nurture?," is up there with,"Which came first the chicken or the egg?" Both answers are hard to crack. When given this GBE 2 topic, I thought of Trading Places, a movie in which the Duke brothers bet $1 to see which mattered most: nature or nurture. Nurture won out, but the movie is fiction.

Goofy kids in bubble bath, circa 1995
Our three children have three distinct personalities. Just look at the photo and how each wore the bubbles in a different way. These babies born into the same environment were different from the start and still are... but maybe the environment wasn't truly the same? After all, we were calmer, more relaxed parents with the third born.

I've also heard that kids teach their parents how they should be treated by their nature. For example, a parent will interact differently with a wild child than a quiet one. So maybe nature beats nurture?

If nature wins, I still don't buy into crap about an inferior race. As a teacher, I've seen kids of all races, creeds, and colors in my intellectually gifted classes. I once taught an African American eight year old, who would read the Wall Street Journal when finished with his work. If you, the adult, didn't understand what he read, he'd explain it to you.

No race is inferior to another, although I can't say the same about parents. One of the hottest current videos on YouTube is that of a Texas judge whipping and cussing at his sixteen year old daughter for downloading music from the Internet. Really, moron? With a beating like that, one would think she made an assassination attempt on the president.

Unfortunately, physically and/or emotionally abusive parents are not the only inferior ones out there. Some well meaning adults hover over their darlings to the point of crippling their ability to think for themselves. So although nature has a strong hand in who we become, we can't ignore nurture.

Amazingly, many kids from horrid homes rise above abuse, neglect, and over-protectiveness to excel; while a kid from a great environment, swallowed mushrooms and drove his car through a house… then miraculously walked away unscathed.

To work a prestigious job, one must earn a college degree; however, the most important occupation in the world–parenting–requires no education at all. Why is that?

I leave you with the trailer from Trading Places, just in case you've never seen this wonderful movie.

 

16 comments:

Jo said...

We are so on the same page here. A little of this and little of that make us what we are. Wonderfully done.

beachlover said...

Absolutely. I have the most important job of all - raising my kids and nurturing them daily. You cannot put a price on that!

Anonymous said...

Just saying my bubbles were supposed to look like judys like a hat but i put too many on and it fell down my face. Therefore im proving you wrong Judy and I have the exact same personality. I would not purposely get bubbles in my eye.

Joyce Lansky said...

LOL! Yeah. You and your sister are EXACTLY alike. Everyone knows that!

Binky said...

Obviously both are important, and things can often have unpredictable results. How we react to what we have and what happens to us can make a huge difference in how things turn out. For a parent or teacher, it sure would be great if you knew exactly what it was that a person needed at a particular moment to flourish.

Russ said...

I believe Nurturing is the most important aspect in life. But not necessarily parental.There were six of us kids growing up. My mom had schizophrenia and my father was an abusive alcoholic.We nurtured ourselves.What it makes is a rockier road in life. Takes longer to become a good adult.We all turned out fine, but later than we should have.

shelly said...

Well, I was the mom who focused on each kids talent and strength. There were times I was naive, especially when they were teens. Only because I didn't do even a third of what they've tried. So if I could go back, there never would've been sleepovers at other peeps house, only mine.
For the most part, I was a push over. The girls knew it and worked it. Nor was I a screamer or a spanker but an eye roller.
A handbook should would've helped me.

Joyce Lansky said...

@Binky, my daughter's first grade teacher could do that. She didn't give everyone the same treatment, but she gave them all what they needed. For my daughter, it was the tough stance, "There's no crying in first grade." …And there wasn't. With some other kids, she was more subtle. It was amazing!

@Russ Sorry about such a rough start. I think nurture is certainly important, but I'm not convinced that it makes us who we are.

@Shelly I know what you mean about the sleepovers. We had banned visits to a few homes.

@Beachlover You DO have the most important job!

@Jo Thanks!

@Anonymous I LOVE YOU. ♥

Kathy said...

This is an amazing post on nature versus nurture. I love the way you highlight that everyone is different and needs different amounts of nurturing. I notice that with my own kids.

Kathy
http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com/

Mike said...

I agree 100% and them some. There is no inferior race, sex or anything, only inferior people. People choose to be inferior by their actions. people who scoff at duty, honor, and obligations will always be the inferior class to those who apply themselves. This is nature.
The biggest thing that upset me about that judge is that he presides over Family Law cases, deciding cases of abuse. Looks like he has no idea what it is. He went way over the line, it was no longer discipline, it was to humiliate. To those bible thumpers who quote the 'spare the rod' line; the bible also says you do not discipline the child to the point of anger, for then the lesson is lost in the anger.

Word Nerd said...

Raising my kids and helping them to become the people they were meant to me is the most important and rewarding thing I have ever done. It sickens me when I see parents who somehow fail to realize just how privileged they are to be a part of something so precious as nurturing another human being.

robert said...

great piece...and food for thought

Rhonda said...

And there certainly are days when a parenting manual and class would come in handy :)
Great post and I love the movie too.
And thanks for featuring my new blog :)

The Host said...

And here I thought all anyone ever took from that movie was the indelible image of Jamie Lee Curtis' boobs! ;)

Sadie said...

My thoughts have always been that KIDS start out with whatever natures mixes up...and then they are like 'sponges' taking in everything that life throws at them.

Our job is to try to make sense of that jumble of information, and help them wade through all the chaos.

Although my kids are as different as 'night and day', I occasionally she some of my influences filtering through.

We as parents can only try our best and hope for the best.

Great post...8o)

grains of sand said...

our "Nature" has an eternal memory, its just the inability to properly Nuture that changes the results.
Great entry and "Trading Places" awesome , loved it each of the 5 times I have watched it! Marc :)