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The Not-So-Secret Diary Of NA

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

Hey there readers! Welcome to my not-so-secret diary. My name is Nathan Arnold and I've decided to share some of my thoughts, experiences, and adventures with all of you.

Entry 6 "Is Nature or Nurture More Influential"

Entry #6: This week's poll:

"Is Nature or Nurture More Influential".

As always, a big thank you for engaging in these conversations each week. I am grateful to each and every one of you who lend your perspective, and share your thoughts, beliefs and values.

Last week's poll "Is It More Important To Focus On The Present Or Plan For The Future" resulted in 63% of people voting 'Focus On The Present' and 37% voting 'Plan For The Future.

This week week's poll "Is Nature or Nurture More Influential" was again more of a one sided affair resulting into 76% of the votes leaning towards 'Nurture', with 24% of you voting "Nature". These votes came in across all platforms.

These votes are shared across LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram and here is what people had to say ...

The first vote I received was 'Nurture'.

They went on to say ... "I believe most of our personal skills and traits come from family behaviour and the friends we have in early life.

People from really broken backgrounds can see progress if they find good friend and support systems".

Here is what one person had to say ...

"The truth is the answer is both but the question is how much weight do you give to nature versus nurture? Is it 50-50 is it 70-30 or 30-70? I used to believe that we are predominantly products of our environment. However, the older I get and given my past experiences, I have flip-flopped my beliefs on this topic. For years, my wife and I were foster parents and we took care of nearly 30 children from various backgrounds. During this time we did a lot of studying of early childhood development and human psychology both formally and with live cases (our kids). My wife is a kindergarten teacher and has her masters in special education. I….just married the hot smart one!

What was so interesting to me was these children, that are now in healthy environments, still turned out much like their parents. In fact, in most cases, they exhibited not just the physical attributes, but the behavioral attributes of their parents (even when their parents were not part of the at all). If you think about it, we are mammals just like our dogs, and we breed our dogs a certain way so that we get puppies with certain behavior traits that we like. We literally breed out behavior tendencies. If you look at social statistics, many families that have certain social difficulties are the same families that are involved and social systems and have been for generations. Does this mean that the social systems are broken? Or does this mean that these individuals have genetic behavioral tendencies that are outside of social Acceptable behaviors because of their genetics?

For example… My oldest daughter, that I was fortune enough to adopt at age 8 finds her self in difficult circumstances at the moment. She spent very little time with her biological mother however, I got to know her quite well because of the foster care system. This was over 10 years ago. it has probably been over 12 years since my oldest daughter spent any time with her mother and even that time was minimal at best. Fast forward to today and she is virtually an exact version of her mother. From comprehension difficulties to habits like lying, work ethic, how they value social interactions and their fellow human to even the type of music they listen to.

By age 5, 80% of our brain is mapped out. That mapping dictates how we interact the world for the rest of our lives. phsycogist used to believe that our brains were clean slates and our neurological connection occurs through experiences. However is is now clear that certain pre-mapping exists that frames out our experiences. Think of our brains and genetics like a fish tank. Our behaviors are this fish. Put a fish in a tank and it does what it can within. Put that same fish in a pond and it can do so much more. That is because the physical framework supports its growth.

I have hundreds of stories I could share that are similar that support how are genetics play a part with our human behaviors. That all said I do not believe that our behaviors, our predestined, and we do still have a choice to make but it is not the same choice for everybody. I have many friends that struggle with substance abuse. Their parents also struggled with substance abuse. Their choice to stay away from substances is not the same choice for somebody like myself that does not have that struggle. That genetic component is much heavier for them than it is for me therefore, it is not the same choice. Their internal compass points towards those tendencies if they like it or not. Their choice is much harder than mine. Likewise, my family struggle with depressive tendencies. It took years for me personally to come to terms with that and seek proper help. And science has helped me way more than therapy, church, exercise, will power and so on…tried it all. That is why I believe that 70% of our being is biological and 30% is from our environment".

Another person went on to vote 'Nurture' saying ...

"I believe we are all a product of our environment, religion is a perfect example of this, I have Christian beliefs that I developed from school teaching, however if my parents were Jewish or Islamic I would not have attended that school and as such my “beliefs” would be very different. I am fortunate to have been born in the UK which is a fabulous country that gifts me all manner of opportunity and society encourages diversity and inclusion, that might not be true of other countries.

Don’t get me wrong, anyone has the potential for good and evil but having a strong family/person in your life that you look to and admire to set a standard of behaviour and values is always going to play an important part in how you develop, think, values you hold, and how you view and treat people around you.

Of course there are other factors that influence you but nurture really is key both by those closest to you and the society and environment around you".

Another one voted 'Nurture' ....

“I think that nature can only do ‘so much’, and that it’s how you are brought up, the environment in which you develop and the influence others have on you that throw more weight at an end product (for want of a better term). I don’t believe the balance to be weighted entirely in nurture’s way; nature obviously plays it’s part through genetics etc, but I do think that it’s skewed towards nurture, or at least in my experience. Hope that I’m not way off the mark there”.

Another person who was voting 'Nurture' and went on to say...

"No denying we have predispositions from genetics, nature, but we are exposed to so many variables along our journey that shape us, I believe that they outweigh anything we inherit”.

Another person voted 'Nurture' mentioned ...

"I think they are both important and influential but ultimately I think growing up with love and care around you influences a persons life in so many ways in terms of development. Socially, security, confidence, how you love as a person. Quite a hard question to answer I know in my head but find it hard to put into words".

Thank you again to everyone who engaged in this conversation and shared their perspective across all platforms this week.

Another topic that was quite one sided, with the majority of you leaning towards nurture this week.

I am asked to offer my perspective each week so here are my thoughts on this topic.

From a nurture perspective, I believe that individuals are not solely determined by their genetic makeup or inherent traits. Instead, behaviours, attitudes, and abilities are largely influenced by the environment in which they are raised and the experiences they encounter throughout their lives.

Nurture suggests that individuals have the capacity to learn, adapt, and change based on their surroundings. It highlights the importance of supportive and nurturing environments in fostering positive development, learning, and personal growth. Factors such as parental guidance, education, social interactions, and exposure to diverse experiences can significantly shape an individual's personality, skills, and overall development.

It is important to note that the nature vs nurture debate does not imply that one factor is more important than the other. Rather, to recognise that both nature (genetics) and nurture (environment) play significant roles in shaping human behaviour and development. Understanding the impact of nurture helps us appreciate the potential for growth and change that individuals possess, and underscores the importance of creating nurturing environments to support their overall well-being and development.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to hearing your perspectives on next weeks blog post. If you have any requests regards to a specific topic then please message me with your requests!

Enjoy the rest of your week! :)


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