Monday, August 10, 2009

Nature versus nurture

I was reading the latest Problogger posts (I love his blog, there is so much useful info there, no matter your experience level) and he was discussing creative thinking techniques and this thought just popped into my head: nature vs nurture?
It is an age old question and if you have ever taken a psychology course, then you have probably had some lively discussions about it.
Why did it come to me now? Well, who knows how my brain comes up with stuff (lol), however, in part, I know it has been on my mind because my husband has been caring for a friend's 2 dogs and it breaks both our hearts the callous way he treats them. They stay outside and he only feeds them once a day, no play's just sad. At any rate, that led to a talk about pets being what the owner makes them. No dog is inherently bad, it is how they are, or have been, treated that determines their behavior.
This is also true of people.
So I am firmly in the nurture camp. I believe we are all a product of our environment. Now, before you get up in arms, I DO NOT believe that a bad environment or childhood is an EXCUSE for bad behavior. That is too often the defense for criminal activity or abusive treatment. Just because someone was abused as a child or was poor, etc. does not mean that they are pre-destined to repeat such actions. My husband is a perfect example of this. He was adopted to people who, in today's age of screening, would NEVER have been allowed to adopt a child. They were physically and emotionally abusive to him until he left home to join the army.
After that childhood and 3 tours in 'Nam, he could well have turned out to be abusive, violent and generally a product of his environment. HE CHOSE not to be that person. He was determined NOT to be like his abusers. He is a caring compassionate man who would not raise a hand in anger to me, no matter the provocation.
I had a good childhood and yet made a poor choice (some would say a choice predicated by my upbringing/environment) that led me to jail. That experience did make me harder, a little less compassionate, a lot less trusting, but not a criminal. I paid my dues and have never had trouble with the law since. MY choice - learn from my mistake - it does NOT define who I am.
I am going back to school, building this blog and trying to get my nursing license endorsed here in Alabama. Hence my choice of the picture on today's blog - building for the future.
So, I ask, nature or nurture? Where do you fall on that spectrum and why? I eagerly await any and all viewpoints.....


  1. Your husband reminds me a lot of my father. Dad left home at 14 because of abuse. His father beat him because he COULD NOT lay bricks. Didnt matter that my dad could repair ANY piece of equipment that his builder father had, he was beaten because laying bricks was something that he just could not get right.

    Consequently, when my dad married mom, he told her that he could not discipline kids because he feared he would do as his father did. So, mom did all the spankings. (She could do it good too)

    So, my dad broke that chain of abuse.

    Much like my friend, your husband did. He made a quality decision to NOT do something.


  2. Thanks Stephanie. Not too long ago my sister got married. Two months later he had abused her so badly that I had to drive over to Nevada in the middle of the night to pick her up.

    And still, she still thought she wanted him. She thought she had done something wrong.

    Abuse and the effect on those who are abused is a sinister thing. It goes way deeper than it even seems like it does.

    Hats off to you, Stephanie. I love what you're doing here.

  3. Great post Steph. As always. So enlighting!! Stay strong :)

  4. Josh,
    Thank you for sharing. Abuse IS a long term situation and it affects the victim and all of their reletionships, present & future.
    I hope your sister is doing better and getting help to realize that she did not do anything wrong.
    I cannot stand to be near my maternal grandparents because of the abuse my mother suffered at their hands. There is NO excuse for that!
    I appreciate your subscription and as a newbie, so to speak, I am still getting the hang of some blogging guidelines. The main part is that I did not start this particular blog to monetize it. I just felt I had something to say. I am quite sure, after reading your blog, that you can relate to that!:)