The thumbnail for this article is my little sister. Well, half-sister.
We don't share a mother. I have two other half-siblings that don't share the same father. Of all siblings, my little sister and I have been raised by the same father, as well as my half-brother and I.
My father was present in my brother's life since he was a toddler. In all that time, they always butted heads. My mother would constantly say how different me and my brother were, amazed that we were related at all, in some regards. Which makes sense though, because they didn't share any genetic makeup.
I'm a lot like my father in certain regards. And a lot like my mother in others. I have genes from both, and have been raised by both.
Now, as I watch my sister grow, I start to recognize our differences and similarities, and try to attribute them to which parent the characteristic came from. The difference with her, is she has both of her genetic parents raising her. So, it's easy to assume that they are imparting her with certain lessons. They each spend time with her, forming her base of knowledge on the world.
Yet, when I think back to my brother, he always demonstrated characteristics that were not present in our household whatsoever. Patterns of behavior that could by no means have been learned. Rather, they had to be inherited.
Just how much of a person is subject to the environment they were raised in? How much of it comes down strictly to genetics? Nature Vs. Nurture is oft debated, but how often do we stop to identify these patterns in our own lives? Can you change your nature? Or is it so inherently ingrained in you that there's no fighting it?
From what I can surmise, the two conflicting factors are at a stalemate. Genetic factors contributing highly to biological outcomes, such as height, eye color, facial structure, and different disorders or diseases.
Environment tends to build social values and attitudes, traits that I know are also related to culture. These traits aren't going to be solely attributable to parents -- the community one grows up in will also play a role.
I spent a decent chunk of time today looking into this (probably more than I should have). I'm still wondering who am I? Am I more my mother or my father? Am I more my parents or my community? What aspects of myself can I control? (I unfortunately don't have more time right now to delve into it, but I plan to in the coming weeks.)
If you are like me, you can recognize people for both their strengths and weaknesses. You can see the areas in which people around you excel, and those in which they lack. That should include yourself.
If you are like me, you also want to improve the person you are. Always. Not a day goes by that I don't feel as if there were a slew of things I could've done better. In all facets of life. I need to believe that I have some control over the type of person I am, and can be. That I'm not limited to some predetermined factors that conspired to make me the way that I am. Regardless of my genetics or my environment.