There is always a debate about nature versus nurture — what exactly do our children or our grandchildren learn from us and what is inherited. How much is inherited, how much is learned and what about the environment. This all came to mind last night when my son-in-law called me to tell me that a family tradition had been carried on without any prodding from him or my daughter.
Mike (my son-in-law) was washing dishes in the kitchen while my darling grandchildren, Lizzie and Liam were playing in the living room. Mike was busy washing away when he heard a series of thumps and then a lot of giggling, then some more klunks and bumps and more giggling, which was followed by a loud ka-thump and even more giggling. As Mike looked around the corner, he saw Lizzie and Liam, each with an item in hand and leaning over the back of the couch dropping things down into the entry of their split level house (which used to be our split level house), watching what happened to the object, finding whatever happened hilarious and then promptly going to find something else to drop.
As in my post ‘The Experiment’, Lizzie and Liam had discovered the joy of dropping things from great heights! So — how did these children know to do this great and wonderful experiment? Had they heard the story and wanted to repeat it — probably not, since Lizzie is 3 and Liam is 1 and at those ages they really don’t pay any attention to adults unless they are uttering the words ‘ice cream’ or ‘candy’. Had Lizzie and Liam inherited some strange gene which made them want to throw things down the stairs? I suppose it is possible, although I’ve never heard of a genetic disorder concerning tossing things down stairs except for possibly a serial killer and since they were only throwing things down the stairs and not people or small pets, I think we can safely say they are not serial killers.
That leaves the last possibility — the house told them to do it. We’ve had this discussion before in my post ‘The House Attacked Me!‘, where Bob had insinuated that the house was possessed. Well, maybe the House actually enjoyed having things thrown on its stairs and hearing the insane laughter of children. I think this is just as possible as this tendency being inherited and a lot more interesting to talk about.
So, is it nature or nurture – inherited, learned or environment? In this case, I think we will start the family legend that it is the environment and begin using the phrase ‘The House Made Me Do It!” whenever we do something which might be considered slightly idiotic – which could be a lot of times!