Nature vs Nurture. What makes a person develop their views, values and beliefs? Is it nature? Something that is just part of someone when they’re born? Or is it nurture?
For me, the nurture argument has always made me think. I know that some things that have happened during my lifetime have shaped my development and who I am. It goes beyond nature and biology and I’ve thought more and more recently about who has influenced me to be the person I am today.
My mum has influenced me massively. She was in my life for 9 years but she definitely made an impact. She was always there for me even whilst holding down a job. She used to go out to the pub every Friday night with my dad. Out by 8pm (after my bedtime) and back by 11:30pm but she made me realise the importance of quality time with your partner. She influenced me in other ways too. I always remember reading a letter she wrote when I was first born and I read on my 16th birthday. She talked about lots of things but the main thing she wrote about was that she hoped I would always judge people on their actions, not by their race, gender or anything else. It’s something I’ve always tried to live by. She influenced me because she was truly the nicest person I knew when I was younger and she never raised her voice and I never heard her say a bad word about anybody.
She’s also the reason why I cling to my husband when we pass a motorcycle because of how she died. I know it’s an irrational fear but it’s something I just can’t get over.
My dad is another big influence. He’s the reason why I expect so much of my husband. He’s the reason I expect my husband to be truly involved in our children’s lives when we have them. My dad became mum and dad when I was 9 years old and he was brilliant at it. I don’t want to say he didn’t make mistakes because he did. He probably was too lenient in some ways and too expectant in other ways but, given he had lost his partner of 14 years, I think he deserves some leeway. The proudest moment of my life came when he walked me down the aisle at my wedding and when he did the ‘father of the bride’ speech. My dad is not prone to bouts of emotion but I look at him now and I know how lucky I am that I had him as my dad.
My friends – I have always always valued my friends. I have a pretty eclectic bunch of friends. One friend is a single mum to two young boys whilst holding down pretty much a full time career with her own house and still managing to keep in touch with friends. She is my benchmark for when I become a mum. She will cringe at that sentence but it’s true. For anyone who has said they are too busy to be there to support, I constantly look to her because she has everything going on but she is one of my constants.
I have a mermaidy and blinde (in-jokes) friends who are there for me when I want to be silly and free. They are there for me no matter what and they match their response with my mood. For a long time I expected too much from my other friends because they can’t be, for wnhatever reason, what the other friends are. In my thirties I have realised that’s okay. They have their own value and they too shape me.
I have my childhood school best friends. They have their own careers and own lives. Yet I know they are there. And that is more important than they know.
My aunties and uncles have shaped the person I am too. My aunties have been there, not as a replacement for my mum but still an influence. They have been there to tell me when I am being unreasonable, supported me with my decisions and ultimately made me realise that family is so important.
Finally, my husband. The guy who keeps me literally sane when I’m looking over the precipice into oblivion. He has taught me so much about acceptance and just being calmer. He accepts me for who I am and that in turn makes me more willing and able to accept people for who they are. He helps me to reach out to people on Twitter who have also shaped me, by gently challenging my views and assumptions and broadening my mind.
Nature makes you what you are. Nurture helps you to change the path you walk on.