Nurture and nature have been two most controversial aspects in self-identification and family. Nature refers to the innate qualities that are inherent in individuals whereas nurture is the external environment aspects that shape the identity of an individual. Nurture is derived from ones environment, and includes attributes or aspects that have no relationship with the genetic characteristics of the person. Which of the two is superior to the other in the way they shape the identity of the person? Although both play and interacting role in development and eventually identification, nurture tends to have an upper hand in shaping character traits and behavior of an individual.
John B Watson asserted that “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors” his contention is a clear indication of the role the environment can play in process of shaping the identity of children. This can happen regardless of the genetic makeup of the children.
The hormonal and genetic makeups do interact with the environment. This interaction is not in equal measure. There are many instances where the environmental factor supersedes the genetic make up. In my personal experience, having been born a male, the environment has shaped me in how I behave. The associations that I have are purely as a result of my experience with my family environment. This can be substantiated by philosopher John Locke’s contention that human beings are born devoid of any experience and with a completely blank mind that he called “tabula rasa” (G. A. Russell , 1994). The blank mind is then filled with information from experiences and conditioning that are derived from the environment. The type of music I listen to, my social relationships as my friends and acquaintances, spirituality etc. are entirely from my environment. These attributes have been derived from my parents and from my teachers at all levels.
Attributes like hard work and my abilities and disabilities are also associated with my environment and with the family. In earlier years, children develop attachment based on the care; acceptance and attention from adults but, later are modeled by their family members to fit in certain principles that are also informed by the environment they live. The parents also gained instincts of how to guide their children from the environment. This is what explains some of the differences experience by people in the world. There are certain occupations like fishing that are associated directly with the environment a child grows in especially from the lake regions or near sea shores. Likewise farmers tend to be from the plains and regions with good climate. Pastors are mainly found in the vast plains.
It is important to understand how children develop. According to Kendra Cherry, there are five main reasons why human development and particularly child development is of importance. First, it helps in self-understanding. The knowledge helps one to understand the person one has grown to become. These insights can prepare one for any foreseeable issues in one’s life time. Secondly understanding how children develop helps the parents to learn more about their children. It presents insight on how the children feel, behave, think and consequently be able to guide them appropriately.
Thirdly the parents shall understand how to interact with their children. Understanding the stages of development of the children shall make interaction with them easier. The fourth reason as to why understanding of human development is of help is that, it leads to appreciation of life development. The last reason is that understanding children development enables the parents to gain greater understanding and be able to differentiate what is normal in the development of their children. This mainly because human development tends to take a predictable pattern throughout, and in almost define stages.
Educationist, parent dynamics and the society as a whole have a lot to gain from this information. This is because knowledge on human development is very crucial to teacher as it helps them guide the children in their development. Such information is crucial in identifying the type of instructions and the instructional methodology to be used. In a particular identification of cognitive levels and the emotional development of children is very important to the teachers.
The knowledge of developmental stages of children, and their emotional attachment is important in developing student teacher relationship. The same in are information helps curriculum developers in coming up with the right curriculum. Teachers are supposed to build a contusive environment for learning and this cannot possibly work unless they have this knowledge. The same information is important to the society since it acts as a guide to how they are supposed to socialize the children. The awareness also helps them to understand different situations that happen on daily basis. For example such information can be used to explain the gender roles, sexuality and other attitudes in the society.
In conclusion, although nature and nurture are intertwined in the development of children, nurture plays a critical role to nature. However, it is worth noting that the two may not possibly act fully independently.
Watson, John Broadus." The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. Ed. Bonnie Strickland. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 662-663. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 28 Feb. 2013.
G. A. Russell. The Impact of the Philosophus autodidactus: Pocockes, John Locke and the Society of Friends, in: G. A. Russell (ed.), The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England, pp. 224–262, Brill Publishers, (1994), ISBN 90-04-09459-8.
Kendra Cherry. 5 Great Reasons to Study Human Development retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/tp/why-study-human-development.htm on 24th February, 2014.