Friday, June 26, 2009

The Age Old Nature vs Nurture Debate

What is it that makes some value life in all creatures and others blatantly disregard it?And the infinite spectrum in between?

I have been watching a couple of swallows tediously build a mud nest right above our covered parking spot for almost a month now. Although I love my car clean, I didn't mind the mud splats they would drop on it as they passed by.

They built it so well and so quickly. I was impressed. As I was coming and going I tried very hard not to disturb them. Now I am kind of wishing I had so they would have nested somewhere else.

I pulled into the parking lot last night to see two little boys. One was holding a 6 foot or so long stick. When I saw it and them, my heart sank. I didn't know why at that moment, but the next told me as I saw what most would see as just a dirt clot on the ground.

I didn't try to avoid hitting it as I parked. In fact I hoped I would run it over to be sure if anything survived the fall, any suffering would then cease. Seeing me roll over it must have rekindled the little urchins' curiosity for their destruction because they came back over as I got out of my car. As angry as I was, I fought to not show it. I asked in almost a joyful tone, "Did you guys knock this down?" Weapon in hand, they both answered no. I followed with, "Did you see who did?" Again it was negative.

Then the younger, stick-less brother said, "The bird bit my brother," pointing to the stick bearer.

"That's because the mommy bird was trying to protect her babies," I told them.

"Why?" he inquired.

"Because she loves them and wants them safe, just like your mommy with you two," I continued to attempt to teach, "See these?" I pointed to the shattered eggs on the pavement.

"They were her babies, but now they are dead. That's why she's so upset right now." I pointed to the frantic, adult swallow flying around.

"Oh, look, it's BLOOD!" he said as he moved closer to the eggs. His excitement and lack of remorse of any kind infuriated me, and so I walked away.

I was obviously upset as I entered our apartment. I felt stupid for crying about it, but Dillon was very understanding and empathetic. He let me vent and comforted me. He also introduced the question, "What makes some people respect and value life and others not?"

Kids like these are not uncommon, especially where we live right now. In the vast majority of the cases, their parents make one realize their children are mirrors of them and their general apathy. I would say, these kids probably have never been taught differently, but what made the kid lie? If he didn't know better or anything different, why would he lie? Granted, the kid could just be a liar, but I think it's more.

Dillon has specific memories of his mother guiding him while handling or treating animals with things like, "be careful," "not too rough," etc, and I, on the other hand don't. I have recollections of my dad treating animals in ways I didn't like at all. Nothing too serious, but I chose to take animals' consideration into account way more than he did.

Can the way kids act really be blamed on their parents? Especially when they are grown? Could some really be put into a situation that they cannot over come well - whether it be nurture, nature or both? My beliefs make me say, no. Being a product or victim of your environment is a choice that is made and one must take accountability for that.

Another factor that comes into the equation that this debate always lacks for me is the soul. The essence of an individual. The basis of existence. The being that, without mortal limitations, is who we truly are. That is the key to overcoming the nurture and nature we have been thrust into.

I believed ingrained into our souls is a knowledge of its origins and a value of life. Temporal self-service, laziness, vanity, or other mortal vices often cloud and even void these roots, but I believe they are always there - somewhere.


Miss Heather said...

I would have cried too. That breaks my heart.

Cerra said...

Thanks Heather, I felt like a pretty huge baby, but I was so sad.

Razzleberry said...

You may not remember it, but I told you many, many times to be careful with the animals we came in contact with. You would have loved them to pieces when you were little if I hadn't. You've always loved animals of all kinds.