Friday, February 08, 2013

Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium: Nature Vs. Nurture

Before I get in to this topic, I just have to comment and say that I love the name of this consortium.  What I love is that grammatically it sounds like what is loose is the bloggers, and not the consortium.  It sort of makes me feel like a "loose cannon" in my writing.  :D

One of the tasks of parents is to identify and nurture talents in their children.  I think that most parents assume that their children will inherit one of the parent's traits, so look for that ability in them.  For example, one parent might be an artist, and might expect that their children will take after them and exhibit artistic abilities.  Usually when children do exhibit a great quality, the parent explains, "They got that from me."  Maybe sometimes they feel that their children are merely an extension of them, and that any good their children do is a reflection of their good genes.  Some parents might say their child is a "chip off the old block".  But this kind of thinking is very limited.

I wonder how those parents would think if their children were adopted.  Imagine adopting a child whose background is difficult to research.  The parents of these children just look for the talents as they come, and praise the child for their abilities.  Wouldn't it be healthier if all parents took this attitude in raising their children?  Isn't it possible that there are many talents that they didn't inherit a natural talent for?

This brings us to the topic of nurture.  Because parents sometimes expect their children to inherit certain traits, isn't it possible that they are unknowingly nurturing those traits in them?  A child whose father plays catch with him every evening will certainly grow up with a desire to play baseball.  That child, through all of the practice of catching, will learn skills at an early age so that when they do start on a team, they appear particularly talented.  But wasn't it nurture all along?

As a parent, I feel a responsibility to nurture any talent my child exhibits.  It may not be one that I have an interest in personally pursuing, but they are not me.  It is also difficult not to label children when they show a talent. If parents refer to a child as the "musical one", or the "scientific one", then the other children might feel they can't pursue that talent because it is already "taken".  But even if a child doesn't appear particularly gifted does not mean they don't have a talent.  They might be a late bloomer.  So the best course is to encourage them in all of their pursuits, whether they succeed or not.  My one son asked for a set of drums.  Buying them was quite an expense, but we bought them anyway to try to encourage him in his pursuit.  In the end, he lost interest, and the drums were more of a nuisance than anything else in our house.  But I'm not sorry we bought them.  I'm glad we gave him the chance to pursue his interests.

Wonder what the other consortium members have to say about nurture and nature?  Check out their blogs to find out:
RummuserAnuAshkokGaelikkaGrannymarPadmumMagpie11, andAkanksha,Will KnotMaria the Silver FoxAnkiNema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and RohitBlack watertownThe Old Fossil, our newest member MAXI! and last, but not least SHACKMAN! :)


Maxi said...

"A chip off the old block," haven't heard that in a long time but you're right, D. I think many parents feel their children are an extension of them.
Blessings ~ Maxi

Grannymar said...

I'm definitely a chip off the old block, when I meet up with old friends or extended family, they all have the one thing to say: "You look exactly like your mother!"

Rummuser said...

None of we four siblings are chips off the old block nor do we see any signs of it in the new generations. They have all gone in different directions. Everything they wanted was given to them in nurturing and they have all grown up into very nice human beings.

You may still be surprised. One of these days, your son may just to return to drums.

Fromagette said...

I listened to an interesting radio show about nature and nurture. You should check it out: Radio Lab podcast for Nov 19th or 20th - Inheritance. (careful, I have found Radio Lab to be very addicting)

Maria Perry Mohan said...

Strange to say, some adopted children look quite like their parents. Adoption really takes place in the heart, I guess.

Inklings said...

I did daycare for 2 children who used to love to watch me make posters and other art projects. When the girl was 16 and living in another state, her mother wrote me a note. She said there was no artistic talent on either side of the family, but that this girl was a very good artist, and she thanked me for it. That was such a nice note to get.

Nene said...

Just about the time I started giving Babs piano lessons, he expressed an interest in learning to play the guitar. I knew he could not start two new instruments at the same time, so I granted his request and let him drop piano. I made sure he took guitar lessons from a reputable teacher and I have never been sorry. He is an excellent guitar player and started a band in high school, which always kept him home on the weekends (so they could practice). My husband and I put up with all the noise but thought it a fair trade for a kid we didn't have to worry about (where he was on the weekends) and for the talent he gained. He learned to play lead (or rhythm guitar) and I am always amazed at how well he plays. He's not a great singer, but he's a darn good guitar player.