I’ve never been sure what I believe in the nature versus nurture argument out there in the world. I’ve seen kids who are delightful who have horrible parents and horrible kids with sweet parents. I’ve also seen sweet kids and parents and horrible kids and parents. When Husband and I were waiting for Daughtger to arrive a few people told us she’d be so smart because he and I are well educated. We were skeptical. Watching her grow she has many qualities we possess and some we don’t. We could attribute some of them to other relations and call it nature and be done, but since she is growing up with us around there’s really no way to tell. Really, short of a highly unethical experiment, it’s got to be near impossible to determine this, right?
As you may know, we have a puppy. She’s over a year old now and tall enough that her tongue can reach things on our kitchen counter, but she’s a puppy nonetheless. We also have an old herding dog and a cat. Since the puppy learned the better part of how to play from the dog, she’s pretty typical and shows some herding behaviors. She is a mixed breed though, and at least one of those has herding qualities as well. The thing is, she also tries to play with the cat. When you watch her play, you can see his influence. She bats at things. She grabs faces with two paws. She’s a jerk. All cat behaviors. Nature or nurture or both?
I’m no scientist but what I can tell you is this: I’ve learned a lot from watching my puppy try to be a cat. What it has given me is a sense of responsibility to help Daughter understand the things that she may inherit from her father and from me, no matter how she comes by them. It has made me think about being open and honest with Daughter about my mental issues so that she understands my behaviors and feels empowered to speak up for herself if she feels anything like I did. It has made me check some of the ways I speak to Daughter, making sure that I am kinder and more open minded. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I succeed, and I hope that she learns from us that both are ok. As long as she doesn’t start to act like a cat, I think we’re doing ok.