- Kathleen R. LaBounty - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Who Am I? Nature/Nurture Debate
To what degree does genetics determine who we are? To what degree is it environment? This, of course, takes us back to the nature-nurture debate. Sometimes people try to convince me that genetics are not as important as environment, but I believe that each has its place in contributing to who we are.
For example, there are parts of me that are unexplainable in terms of environment. Imagine my surprise when I discovered by accident at age 21 that I can sketch despite the fact that I have never taken an art lesson in my life. Since nobody in my mother's family has this ability, I had no idea to even look for it. As a result, I can't help but wonder what other abilities I have that I am completely unaware of.
Likewise, my reflection is determined by genetics. When I look in the mirror, it is sometimes as though I see a stranger looking back at me. I have heard several adoptees say this, too. While my thin build did come from my mom's side, my height - or, lack of height - did not. I am 5'2", yet my maternal cousins range from 5'10" to 6'5". I also suspect that someone in my paternal family shares my dark blue eyes that have not appeared in any maternal relatives.
I wonder what led my sperm donor to become a doctor. Did I inherit my interest in medical issues from him? Perhaps his genes explain why I am fascinated by TV programs on Discovery Health. Maybe his genes contributed to my decision at age seven to become the only vegetarian in my family as a result of my need to take care of anything living.
By studying my maternal relatives for similiarities and differences to me, I am at least able to deduce what my biological father might look like, act like, and enjoy doing. As a result, I'm also able to figure out how we are probably similar. While bonds may be formed regardless of genetics, I cannot deny reminders each day that a mystery man has contributed to who I am.