Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Genetics versus Environment

This is a topic that has always interested me.  And no matter how much I learn about it, I don't think I (or anyone for that matter) will ever really know fully, completely all there is to know about it.

I can remember when, many many years ago, I really believed that environment had everything to do with who a person becomes & is.  I believed that a person was basically born a blank slate & his/her environment is what shaped & formed that person into who & what they become.  The family members, the parents & their style of parenting, etc, etc. 

I am the youngest member of my family.  So I was never around kids as I grew up, much less babies.  Once I became a nurse that changed.  I took care of kids & babies & newborns in the hospitals.  As I worked with the newborns I was absolutely amazed to realize that they are each unique.  They are each born with their own personality already in place.  Their basic personality is already there, created by God.  It is not dependant upon their family & the parenting style used in their home.

By nature I analyze everything.  Since marrying, I have spent a good amount of time analyzing my own family.  It is fascinating to me to see traits in my stepkids that, although they are not present in my husband, are present in one of my husband's siblings!! 

My son was born 3 years ago.  It has been fascinating watching his personality unfold since birth. 

My husband & I are neat freaks & a tad OCD about it.  And for both of us the same cannot be said of all the members of our own families--although I'm sure that would be true of any trait you stopped to examine. 

Since very early on we have noticed that our 3 year is displaying neat freak tendencies.  And he is very particular about how & where he places his toys.  Initially we had discussed this & were assuming that it's obviously genetic, since this is not something we are teaching to a baby or toddler.

BUT like I said before, I analyze everything.  And of course as I analyzed this I realized that even though we aren't teaching him that, a child is extremely observant.  They are like a little sponge, just sitting around observing & learning, passively, what the people nearby are doing.

So I do think that it's possible that some of Lil J's neatness & OCDisms could have learned by observing his parents.  However, I have seen him do some things all on his own.  Things that clearly prove that he is a neat freak & a tad OCD, but things that neither me or my husband do.  (And there are no other neat freaks in our home for him to be observing)

So the topic of genetics versus environment continues to fascinate me.  And it most likely always will.  We will never really know how much of Lil J's neatness is genetic & how much of it he learned from his parents.

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