Thursday, October 23, 2008

Defining Self: Nature vs. Nurture

As I lay in bed last night I was thinking about some writing assignments I had for my MOPS newsletter. Trying to decide how I wanted to write them. For this angle or that. I was once again reminded of a description a former boss used to describe me (he was being nice). He quoted Winston Churchill's description of Russa. "Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."

I've often thought he hit the nail on the head with that description. I was raised in the deep south. Spent 19 years growing up in a chauvinistic state, with a racist, chauvinist dad, and two sisters. I was the youngest and the fighter. Willing to take on anyone and always ready to fight for the underdog.

I hear alot of arguments about nature vs. nurture. I'm not a sociologist so this is only my personal opinion but I have to say in my case at least nurture was the predominant factor. My friends growing up played a bigger role in my life than myparents.

We moved to a small one red light town while I was in first grade. It was the sort of Texas town that you were an outsider in IF your grandparents hadn't been born & died there. Fortunately it was not full of racists. In fact, the only real friend I had the first four years we lived there was African American. The white kids wouldn't play with me because I was new.

I remember the first real fight I had with my mom was because I wanted to invite my only friend from school to the birthdayparty she decided I could have and she wouldn't allow it. Instead she invited some snotty little girls from my brownie troop because my dad wouldn't have a problem with them (they were white, my friend was not).

All these years later as a genetic and adoptive parent I still wonder about the nature vs. nurture argument. My children are opposite genders and 2 months apart in age. I wonder how much of my adopted child's personality is because of nature and how much of it is shaped by nurture. I think I'll likely only have my answer after my children are grown.

After all, I'm 41 years old and still a riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma myself. I'm a southern gal who is a self professed Yankee (used to drive my dad ape crazy to hear me proudly proclaim that) and I use a lot of Yiddish when I talk.

Oh the contrasts.

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