Sunday, June 06, 2004

Genetics

I've been thinking about kids lately. No, not having one - but what makes them tick.
When one makes the decision to have a child, the crapshoot begins. You never know what kind of child you are going to get. Yes, mom-to-be can, and should take very good care of herself while she is pregnant, but unless she does some serious damage, the baby's genetic makeup will determine outcomes more so than enviornment. I'm talking generally here, not extreme life situations.
What makes one child in a family survive adversity and another from the same family not survive? Genetics. How that child's brain is wired will determine how they will handle both life's trials and joys. Eveyone is very pleased when a child arrives and resembles a loved one in the family. That makes for bonding and all kinds of other loving family interactions. But what happens if your child inherits a dispositon like your dreaded Aunt Bertha? What do you do then, and can you do anything about this unfortunate situation? Yes, and no. More on that later...
A friend of mine, Beth, has a "bubbly" personality. Always did, always will. Beth said herself she has always had very high self esteem. She can't imagine anything else. Not everything in her life has been great, but she can dodge life's arrows better than most people. Her brain must be wired that way. I think that her Seratonin levels are higher than normal, thus she can't be depressed. I don't think that she can even maintain melancholy for more than an hour. Lucky, lucky woman!

2 Comments:

At 11:52 PM, Blogger James said...

the nature vs. nurture arguement. i don't agree in concept but i've seen what you've said in real life... so i do. some of the kids i've seen in my church come from some of the most screwed up families in the world, and have had some of the worst experiences ever. One kid will turn out horrible, another will fly through school and college with a 4.0. it's personality, and that old fight or flight thing. some kids go with the flow, some kids run, some kids rebel against the crap they've seen from their surroundings, which in my opinion, is the best kind of rebellion there is.

 
At 4:15 PM, Blogger AJ said...

There's no question in my mind that the source of personality traits are sometimes from further out in the gene pool than just mom & dad. My son is proof.

Both my wife and I were compliant, "good" kids — never pushed the envelope, never seriously rebelled (until we were adults anyway...), our consciences were always on overdrive.

We have two kids, the eldest a son, and a daughter. Both raised the same way, with plenty of love and emotional reinforcement, lots of activities and group involvement. My wife was a stay-at-home Mom until they were both nearly in high school.

From day ONE, our son pushed the envelope of every boundary that was placed before him. We'd punish him, and he'd continue. He always had to do things his own way, almost no matter the cost.

His personality is the spitting image of one of my older brothers, who my son has hardly even known throughout his life. My brother has never had the opportunity to influence my son, but it's as if he's channeling himself through him.

Our daughter OTOH is compliant, polite, always conscientious of the effects of her actions on others. In short, she's just like me (yeah right...)!

Don't misunderstand, my son is a great kid. He was an Eagle Scout and was always one of the most popular kids in school — to his fellow students AND his teachers. But the point is, I do agree that all the nurture in the world won't always completely mold the personality of a child.

 

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