What if it is all in the genes?

Back while I was in university studying to be a teacher my minor concentration was psychology, in particular child development and behaviour. I poured over the texts and listened to the reasoning behind both the nature and nurture debate. At the time I pretty much came to the conclusion that many of our little behaviour quirks were a direct result of the environment we were brought up in and the people we were around the most.

Flash forward a year or two…okay maybe multiply that by quite a few years and you will get to the present day. I am now a mother of two children. I have a boy and a girl. They are just under 18 months apart in age. They were both born in the same place and have grown up in the same house. The same people visited us on a regular basis when they were small. My point being their upbringing is not all that different. But let me tell you those two children are. I call them night and day. One has dark hair, eyes and tans beautifully and the other is blonde, blue-eyed and can’t go out in the sun without being fully covered from head to toe for risk of burning. One loves to sleep and the other never sleeps. One loves healthy foods and the other would be a junk food junkie if I let it. On top of this, my daughter is starting to exhibit traits of some of my relatives from back home in America. One of these relatives in particular she has only met once. This has pretty much made me sway quite a bit on that old nature versus nurture debate. I now know they both play such a huge role in how a person develops.

I was thinking about family genetics today actually. As I was doing research on the internet I came across an article about a very popular and rather nice looking male star. As with most articles about famous people they throw a few photos in of them to make it more shall we say…colourful. One photo of this person was of them with their family. I looked at his father and one sibling and they were the image of each other and even had the same sour expression on their face and then looked at the famous person and their mother and it was clear where the charisma came from.

So where does all this rambling on my blog today come from? Well I will blame the Wednesday Writer’s Group because this week’s challenge is to think about our families. One of the exercises was called – Talk the Talk. We are to write a dialogue about how our family talks to each other. This immediately got me thinking back to the times when my dad’s side of the family were all assembled together and then the dialogue flowed so easily from there. It is only short but you will get the point.

“Colleen ask Barry if he wants a beer.”

“Barry, dad wants you to come in here.”

“I can’t hear you Col, I will be there in a minute, I’m just signing these checks.”

“Dad if you are going out to get a beer, Barry said he will have a Becks.”

“I haven’t got any Becks, ask him if he wants a Molson instead.”

“Barry, dad wants you to bring in a few slices of that bread.”

“Tell him its fine nothing is in the red.”

And yes folks, it really was that bad. Except add a few more very hard of hearing siblings to the mix. Nobody ever actually heard a word anyone said even when they were in the same room. Aren’t genetics great?



About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three who doesn’t really know what she wants to be when she grows up.
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13 Responses to What if it is all in the genes?

  1. Indigo Spider says:

    Bwahaha… it seems cruel to laugh but this was quite funny! I imagine it must have been quite frustrating at times though.

  2. Dave Farmer says:

    Hehe. Very funny and a great reflection on how families talk but don’t listen, well, sometimes they do but they hear what they want!

  3. Robin Hawke says:

    I thought I heard some of my relatives ringing…

  4. I am convinced, after having two children and watching them grow, that genetic make-up trumps environment…by a hair!

    Love the a-hem “conversations”.

  5. pattisj says:

    Love the conversation! All I know, is our grandson is very different from his five sisters. All boy.

  6. Jo Eberhardt says:

    I also studied a bit of psychology, and had also decided that nurture trumps nature. Then I had my first son, and he was perfect. So, of course, I put his good sleeping, good temperament, calm personality down to our sheer awesomeness. I mean, clearly we were amazing parents, doing everything right. Right?

    Then my second son was born. He didn’t want to sleep. He cried and started throwing tantrums at 6 months old (at age 4 1/2, my eldest has NEVER thrown a tantrum), he would rather use his toys to bash other toys, walls or people than actually PLAY with them, and can go from laughing to screaming bloody murder in 2 seconds flat.

    What happened? What happened to our amazing parenting ability? How is it that we did everything the same, and ended up with two kids who are the polar opposites of each other?

    Clearly anyone actively engaged in the nature vs nurture debate doesn’t have children. *grumble grumble grumble*

  7. Funny how that happens that way. I agree and think some of these “experts” need to spend a lot less time studying life and a little more living it.

  8. Maeve Murray says:

    It’s funny you should blog about this now, because I was just talking to my mom about how weird it is that my brother is the spitting image of my uncle (not just in looks) even though he never sees him. I’ve also been told that when I smile, I look like my aunt. I never see her either. Sometimes I even have her mannerisms, and how can that be possible? Genes must be more complex than we ever thought.

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