Environments that Nurture

In the continuing debate on nature versus nurture are the abstractions, like genetics, environment and standards.  Aristotle once said he could look at the face of an infant and discern whether or not that child would make a good slave.  Indicating a subjective opinion based upon facial traits, or in modern terms, genetics.  Said opinion denying the intellectual/moral identity of the infant.

A “trait” is something one comes into life with and often times, we do not know the extent of a trait until the environment has pushed an individual too far.  Even Jesus Christ said, “Do not provoke your children to wrath”.

The best way to discern whether or not a child actually has a negative or abusive behavioral trait is to look at the child’s parents or other family members and their ability to handle stress.  Even then, it will be a guess and not a completely accurate picture of the child’s potential.

However, if a child has taken too much stress, a couple of signs are facial expressions and/or repetitive behaviors or mocking. 

Facial expressions include, for no apparent reason, suddenly skewering the face and sticking out the tongue.  Probably a delayed reaction to something that they didn’t like…like getting into trouble for defending themselves. 

Repetitive behaviors might include anything from saying a word over and over or banging (as in with a stick on the sidewalk, or the cabinet with a big plastic spoon).

Mocking would include behaviors such as repeating an insulting sentence muttered by the teacher or parent who scolded them for something.  Usually in conjunction with a shaking head.

The only way to completely eradicate an attitude is by complete segregation of a child.  However, this is not wise because we all must be inculcated into a society, which is capable of anything and often can be aggravating, especially for very intelligent children and adults.

It is essential for a parent, who notices their child is under stress, to empathize with the child and admit that they too get angry.  That anger is a very real emotion and that it must be tempered with self analyzation.

Expending anger which is not able to be voiced, is best done with physical activity.  Like bike riding, running, athletics or hiking.  Many times, what makes us angry is best dealt with after physical activity, because we spend the “fight or flight” moment. 

The federal government has done studies on improvement of thought with physical activity.  It is true that physical activity, such as running or walking regularly, improves the brain.

And, therefore, the ability to control one’s actions.

Scientific research supports the fact older brains benefit from physical activity also. 

Using the word “trait” to define a child’s potential can be dangerous at the macro level where sociological and psychiatric concepts are concluded and then woven into society via psychologists and counselors.  One of the ramifications is that parents who cannot deal with their own issues will infer their problem onto the child.  This goes on now, often.

It is imperative, before discussing traits, to define exactly what a “trait” is, human nature in general and of course, the environment.