Christina M. Currie: It’s all about presentation
November 9, 2007
Craig — It’s been a long time since I’ve checked the score in the nature versus nurture debate, so I’ve got no idea whether genetics or environment are ahead.
I can’t even help clear up the debate using my own experience.
I mean, surely I don’t demonstrate the stubborn, I’m-always-right, independence my 7-year-old daughter Katie does.
I won’t lie. I know I’ve got it in me, so I’m assuming that’s just an inherited trait.
I’m just as sure 6-year-old Nikki is naturally sweet because I often demonstrate that. So is that environmental?
Other things could be either one if you consider how long the genetic code is and how certain traits and abilities skip a generation.
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Cousin Isiac’s presence is greeted with much ado. He’s the perfect playmate, always willing to go along with any role asked of him. The poor boy is often a prince or a husband instead of the ninja warrior he’d prefer to be.
I spent a quiet morning working with a half an ear tuned into the performance unfolding in the living room.
I caught enough of the dialogue to know they were playing house. Isiac, of course, was the husband, Katie the wife and Nikki performed beautifully cast as the cat.
It wasn’t the performance that caught my attention. It was the script. Totally ad lib. Totally realistic and totally nothing I have ever modeled or heard in front of my kids.
“Ring, ring,” Katie said.
“Don’t answer it,” Isiac barked. “It’s my boss.”
I didn’t catch exactly why Isiac was avoiding his boss, particularly since this young couple was clearly strapped for cash.
“You can’t just take money,” Katie whined. “You have to ask.”
Wow. This is a couple on the verge.
“If you need more money to pay the bills, then you should work more,” she added.
Oh yeah, I’ve seen this on television. It never ends well.
Evidently, Isiac was too busy to rebuilding his truck to put in any overtime and had broken into the check book for some “awesome rims.”
Kids. I remind you that this discussion is being held by a 7-year-old and an 8-year old.
I missed the scene change. A few minutes later the “phone” rang again.
“Yes,” Katie said in her sweetest and most professional voice. “This is Kathryn’s office.”
In the face of Isiac’s automotive obsession and the fact that he was dodging calls from work, Katie had taken the matter into her own hands, got a job and Nikki became a latchkey cat.
Wow. Reality check.
Where did these children learn to be so adult? Is it ingrained like a girl’s desire to nurture a doll or like a boy’s instinctive protectiveness?
Is this a life they’ve seen on television or modeled in other homes?
I don’t have the answers.
I can only hope that Katie will grow up to be proactive about finding solutions, a little less controlling and as able to discuss problems openly when they’re real and not just pretend.
I can only hope that Isiac’s interest in cars will translate into a hobby and that he’s as dedicated to himself as he is to his cousins.
I can only hope that Nikki doesn’t grow up to be a cat.
I think that’s feasible. I think it’s in them genetically and in me environmentally.
Nature or nurture, I’ve got my bases loaded.