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Nature or Nurture: Which Is More Important?

By karlaelewis Jun 06, 2012 1015 Words
Lewis 1

Nature or Nurture: Which is More Important?

The debate about which is more important nature or nurture will go on forever. Is the genetic background the predetermine factor for a child's path through life or is it the environment in which a child is raised in the larger more important part of the growing cycle? A child is born with many traits that are carried throughout life however, this does not complete the full cycle of life. A child needs nurture in order to complete this cycle. Therefore, it is clear that the environment in which a child lives and attends school, along with the time spent at home with caring parents plays a major role in this cycle.

When a person wants to grow a plant she would need to start with a seed. Roger Funk states, "Nature (genetics) determines the potential of an individual tree, and Nurture (the conditions under which it is growing) determines the expression of this potential" (Funk 1). For example, a seed is considered a child's DNA, which alone will not produce anything unless other needs are met, this is called the nurturing part of the cycle. In order for a seed to grow it needs fertile soil, water and fertilizer. The fertile soil is considered the child's home with loving and attentive parents, while water is considered to be the child's siblings and extended family members. Finally, the fertilizer comes from interactions that a child has in school with teachers and other students. Jay Stipes states,

Lewis 2
"While genetics are important, a tree needs good nutrition, good soil and adequate water to become a champion (Stipes 2). A person who follows the nature stance believes that the genetic code is passed on to a child through height, weight and eye color. If a child had the opportunity to select his or her parents, a child could make sure that he or she selects the best ones for her life (Stipes2). This person also believes that not only are physical traits passed on but so is intelligence and predisposition for crime, drug addiction, and alcoholism. There are many aspects of the nature position that have merit. However, what this person does not realize is that the environment in which a child is raised has the most impact on a child's life. To illustrate, at school a child establishes a public self-image, which will follow him or her through out life. Just think about how much of a child's life is spent at school. A child starts school around the age of five or six and remains in school until the age of eighteen. Throughout this time frame a child is exposed to many obstacles especially peer pressure. For example, a child may know the difference between right and wrong but is easily persuaded to do the wrong thing because he or she wants to fit in. Being accepted by other students plays a major role in a child's life, because at no time during a child’s school year does he or she want to feel rejected or left out. This is also where the teacher has a major role in a child's life because a teacher is a child's first line of defense. The teacher can step in and assist the child in choosing the right thing to do while also helping with self-image. However, none of this is possible unless the child has respect for himself or herself, students and teachers. This foundation starts at home with the child's parents.

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The most valuable part of this cycle begins at home with the child's parents. It does not mater if a child's parent suffers from a mental illness or not, studies have shown that if a child receives proper nurturing, regardless of the parents status, will help determine what a child will end up like (Aston,Raeburn 1). Nurturing starts with a mother providing her child with an adequate amount of attentiveness and love, which helps a child to learn and develop effectively. A study done by the McGill University scientists showed that a mother's nurturing can help stimulate brain developments (Roxane1). For instance, if a mother does not show her child any type of attention, the child is left unstimulated and as a result the mother will end up with a non-productive child. That is why is important that the mother gives daily doeses of kisses and hugs. Equally important, the father must also supply attentiveness while also being the disciplinarian. A child needs to be praised for the good things that he or she does while also being corrected on the bad things that he or she does. Research studies have shown that children whose parents are harsh, abusive and neglectful are at a higher risk for mental illness (Aston, Raeburn 1). All of these factors serve as fertilizer in order for a plant to grow. Memories and experiences now serve as a blue print for development in life. The formation of a person is a complicated process beginning at birth and continuing from there. Along the way a child needs the fertile soil, water, and fertilizer in order to grow and determine what he or she will get out of life. In the end after all of the child's growth he or she is left with the next stage of development which is repeating the same processes known as reproduction. Blessed with a child of his or her own they will become the caregiver ready to provide the most important part of life cycle, which is nurture.

Work Cited Page

Aston, A., Raeburn, P., (2001, June). Troubled Kids: It's Nurture, Not Nature. Business Week Issue 3736, p99, 1/4p. Retrieved from htt://

Tracey, R. Nurturing linked to brain development. Retrieved September 9, 2002 from

Ball, J., Funk, R., Stipes, J., (2002) What Makes a Tree Grow Big? American Forests, Vol. 108 Issue 1, p45, 1p. Retrieved from http//

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