I’ve been pondering this question for a while, so if you have children, I’d love you to share your input. Do you think most of our talents are inherited through our parents’ genes, or are they acquired through nurturing and practice?
Here’s a perfect example of this issue at our house:
– I (the mother) have always loved doing jigsaw puzzles since I was a little kid. If I had lots of time to do anything I want, I could spend several hours a day working on a giant puzzle. The largest puzzle I’ve ever made was 2000 pieces but I’m sure I could go for larger.
– My husband (the father) is far from a puzzle master. He clearly doesn’t like doing puzzles, and when he helps out the kids, I’m actually not sure who’s helping who the most.
– My oldest, who’s almost five, is a little like his dad. He enjoys doing puzzles more than him but sometimes struggles and his frustration can make him abandon his project before completion. With a little encouragement, he can usually get the puzzle done (we’re talking about 48 pieces here).
– My youngest, who’s just over three, is a puzzle wizard. Give him a 48-piece puzzle, provide a little assistance, and he’s done within 5 to 10 minutes. After he’s done the same puzzle a few times, he can do it all by himself and won’t even look at the original image to put it together. He clearly has great visual memory and well-developed spatial intelligence.
Because of my husband’s puzzle-making limited abilities, I’ve always been the one encouraging the kids to do puzzles, guiding them through the building process. I don’t believe I’ve spent more time with my youngest than my oldest doing puzzles. If anything, it’s been the opposite since my oldest is the one who struggles.
So why is it that my youngest can complete a puzzle faster than his older brother? Shouldn’t it be the opposite because of the age difference? Did I pass on the full “puzzle gene” to one kid, but only half of it to the other? Nature versus nurture is the age-old question, even when it comes down to jigsaw puzzles. Well, not just puzzles, since the question can extend to music, art, sports, etc.
Do you think you have passed on some talent genes to your kids and they have developed specific affinities because of their genetic predisposition? Or do you think they’re just good at something because they get to spend a lot of time practicing?