Nature vs. Nurture

I get my curly, crazy hair from my dad. My sisters have his pear shaped physique and every heath problem he ever had. I got my thin body frame from my mom and like her, lucky in the health department. My fingers and nails are identical to my aunts.

Jason is a mirror of his (biological) father as is our son. Characteristics are hereditary no doubt. But what about our personalities, our mannerisms? I sometimes laugh like my mother (so I’ve been told by my wonderful husband!) Our son laughs just like his Uncle Josh. Jason sits just like his father and our son now sits the same way. I have my fathers love for spicy foods and Mustangs and now my son is obsessed with Mustangs…his dad not so happy about that one!!

Are all of these things from our parents? Even if they didn’t raise you? Or are you the way you are just because that is nature? You are who you are. My dad left when I was 3. There’s no way I would remember him loving spicy foods or Mustangs. I never got to know him even as I got older. Sure we would talk but it was never a “let’s get to know each other” conversation. And I know Jason can’t remember seeing his father sitting in such a position as he and Bailey do now. I think maybe the love of music was learned but not the mannerisms. Bailey has that same love for music.

I often hear as I also often say, “oh you must get that from so and so.” How much of that is really true? Are you who you are because that is your DNA? Or are you the way you are because of your environment? I happen to think it’s both. It’s a very interesting subject and the age old debate Nature vs. Nurture, I don’t think will ever die.

How are you like your parents or aunts and uncles? Do you have strong genes? Do you think it’s more of one theory than the other?

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7 Responses to Nature vs. Nurture

  1. SKL says:

    This is one of those questions I don’t think we’ll ever really answer.

    Definitely genes are big. My friend is so much like her father in terms of posture, personality, etc., including many things subconscious or totally unconscious. And she doesn’t like some of those things about him, yet she can’t seem to get rid of those tendencies. Another weird thing I’ve noticed is how kids tend to develop handwriting just like their parents’, even though the way they are taught is often very different.

    Nurture, of course that’s important, but when it comes to basic traits, I don’t think it’s as strong as many people think. I feel that when it comes to personality, nature is the carving knife, and nurture is the sandpaper. (Of course, I had a completely different opinion before I had kids!)

    There’s a third thing that I haven’t heard discussed, but I have a theory. I get this idea from my 2-year-old daughter. She is not even remotely related to me biologically, and she came to me when she was 1 year old. She is so much like me, it is uncanny. She has the same posture, the same food preferences, the same insecurities – I mean truly, she’s my mirror image with just a few exceptions. And the odd thing is that I noticed this very soon after I met her, so this is not about her molding herself to me. My other daughter is just like a friend of mine – again, no biological relationship and no “nurture” involved.

    So what can this mean? I think we don’t inherit most traits separately, but in packages. Some traits usually go hand-in-hand with others, including some physical characteristics as well as personality. I’m not sure how this works, of course, but I would love to see someone study it.

    To add a twist, my “mini-me” daughter and I are both Librans. My other daughter and my friend are both earth signs. Hmm, an argument for astrology?

  2. Joy says:

    This subject has always interested me. I swing on both sides of the fence. Both of my boys are so different. Jason is nothing like his biological father. He might think he is but he’s the carbon copy of my Uncle Ronnie and Grandpa Sills. The way his one leg kind of sways to the right when he’s standing is just like my Uncle R. Jack was very quiet and shy and extremely introverted. Jason is nothing like that. The love of music, who knows where our likes and dislikes come from? You can come from the same people and like completely different things.

    Toby on the other hand looks nothing like Paul or I. He’s the spitting image of Paul’s one brother and at times, my cousin Jeff. His personality is a lot like that of an Erickson but his feelings and emotions are more like my dad and I. Toby also has my dad’s legs. It kills me to see them. They are exactly the same.

    Mannerisms are what kill me. How can someone do something that really reminds you of someone else when the person doing them has no idea of it? Had I not told Jason that Jack sat like that, he’d never have known. So do we put that idea in someone’s head? Kind of like the power of persuasion? People will tell you you did something when you were little and you don’t remember but them telling you..but do you really remember or are you “remembering” only because they are telling you that you did it? Does that make sense?

    I can look down at my hands and they are duplicates of my Grandma Froom but otherwise, I don’t look like her. Paul looks just like his mother but has characteristics of both his parents. Toby has the sense of smell from his Grandpa Leonard and Jason has a lot of characteristics of Paul’s brother Wally and they don’t share the same blood. Can anyone explain this???

    I guess I believe it’s Nature 50% and Nurture 50%.

  3. nikki says:

    Jason is a lot like Wally. Even more so now that he’s almost Mr.Bossman. I see Paul in Jason at times. I think Jason looks like Jack however I do not know the other family members. I do think I remember or I think I remember events only because they were told to me so many times.

  4. Jane says:

    This has always puzzled me too. I feel sometimes generations skip so that without older people in our lives, we might not know we are doing things the way our ancestors did. I guess I walk and move my hands around like my great grandmother did but I’d have no way of knowing this if not for my dad and grandma. So it’s really hard to say where we pick things up. My little guy looks just like an uncle that died when I was a baby and without photo’s and my mom’s memories of him, I’d have no idea.

    That’s really a good point Joy of what we really remember and what we were told. I’ll be anxious to see what others think.

  5. mssc54 says:

    I think the short answer to is it DNA or nature is YES!

    The bio parents of our new kids are very self centered. The grand parents of our new kids are very self centered.

    However, two sisters (aunts of our new kids) are very nice and loving people.

    The grandmother of our new kids is so self centered that she told the State to put her grandchildren in Foster Care or the Orphanage they couldn’t take them.

    That’s when we stepped in.

    I hope and pray that our new kids don’t have much of their bio family.

  6. Jennifer says:

    As SKL mentioned I’m sure we won’t unlock this mystery. This argument has plagued psychologists for more than a century. I’m fairly certain both influence our outcome, but I’m not sure it’s just one alone.

    I can still remember having our 20 week ultrasound for our daughter and being frustrated beyond belief when she wouldn’t ‘show us the goods’ because she was sitting in the same ridiculous pose on her feet that my husband always sits in. He thought it was hilarious when I turned and blamed him for giving our kid the genes to do that.

    It’s also interesting when you add a different culture to the mix. My nieces and nephews are half Japanese (their mom is Japanese). While they look Japanese in appearance they still have our mannerisms and so many traits that we’ve seen in our family for generations that it’s really fun to watch.

    As a teacher I’ve watched kids that came from homes with awful families totally defy the odds or act so different from the rest of their family members.

    I know nature plays a role. I know nuture plays a role. But I also know that there’s a part of everyone that just belongs to them…it is who THEY are….Sometimes we spend so much time comparing them to everyone else that we forget to THEM….

  7. Sue says:

    This is an interesting topic. My brother looks like my uncle, talks like him, even has the same hand gestures as him!!!! And we grew up only seeing him once a year maybe so explain that! I do think a lot of it is in our DNA and the rest is learned behaviors.

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