Nature vs Nurture: What contribute to a child moral development?

Over the years, various debates have come up on what aspect plays a more important role in the development of an individual, Nature or Nurture. Looking at our world today, I’d say apart from these two factors, an individual’s choices also determines or portrays what type of person he is.

A certain school of thought believes that when a child is born, his character, physical and behavioral traits are already predetermined by genes, DNA and probably what some people might refer to as Destiny. Another school of thought also says that a child has no personality when he is born and the environment which he is born into and the upbringing he receives are what determine or shape his personality.

While both schools of thought are not wrong, I feel there is one more factor that needs to be considered, that is CHOICE! A person is wholly made up of the choices he has had to make all his life. For example, if you ever read the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling or probably you saw the movie, you’d notice the similarities between the hero, Harry Potter, and the villain, Lord Voldemort. Both were orphaned at an early age, both grew up with guardians who were not totally loving, both had to deal with a certain lack of affection and constant need in their lives. But the difference between them, became obvious in the choices they made. While Voldemort chose to kill when faced with an opponent, Harry Potter chose to disarm. Given the choice between self and others, Voldemort chose himself over and over and over, Harry always consider others before himself.

Now let’s picture this scenario; a skimpily dressed lady walks past a group of 6 guys, they all see her from afar, but as she gets closer, 5 of them look away and continue their business, the last one follows her with his eyes and then finally his feet follow his eyes and he trails her to dark corner where he accosts her, rapes her and kills her. Judging from this scene, it is obvious that all 6 of the guys had the same options, but 1 chose differently from others.

Some might want to argue that the one who chose differently had just been dumped for another man by his girlfriend of four years, whom he trained in the university and opened a successful business for. Among the other 5 who chose to look away, there’s also one who was sexually abused for years by his mother, but still he chose to look away, what then could be the excuse for wrong decisions?

When we are born, we’re given a set of genes by our parents. Growing up, we’re all taught and trained differently, depending on so many factors like parents, environment etc. While these two shape us to a certain extent, we are more a product of our choices than ‘home training’ or genetics. Although, we can’t overlook the fact that these two factors, Nature and Nurture also have a way of influencing our choices. For example, a child of professional athletes, is more likely to join the sport club instead of the glee club in school. Then again, as a sign of rebellion, he might choose the glee club instead or the athletic gene might just pass him by.

I strongly believe that every individual is a sum total of all the decisions he/she has made throughout his life journey, whether good or bad and our situations or positions as is, is also as a result of these choices.

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