Archive for June 27th, 2011

Nature vs Nurture

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Today I was won­der­ing if a love of ani­mals and birds is more nature vs nur­ture. As a child we only ever had birds (budgies) as pets and as I got older I was able to con­vince my par­ents to let me have rab­bits and ham­sters as well. But I always loved ani­mals. One year, when I was a young­ster, my fam­ily took a trip to the Poconos and spent time at a fam­ily resort. On the prop­erty, there was a lake and a flock of geese feed­ing and walk­ing around. I was fas­ci­nated by these big birds and thought I would try to get close by sit­ting qui­etly on the grass to observe. After a few min­utes, the birds ignored me and  started to walk close to me. I don’t remem­ber how long I sat there, but it was long enough for my par­ents to find me and see me sit­ting amongst the birds.  Fast for­ward approx­i­mate 25 years later, and my par­ents and I took my son to a bird and rep­tile park in Florida. My son loves ani­mals includ­ing birds and at the park we were able to get up close to the ducks and flamin­gos. My son ran to the edge of the lit­tle pond they had and the ducks started to come up to him. He put his hand out and a duck almost touched his fin­gers. My par­ents were imme­di­ately reminded of me in my child­hood.  Then we went to the flamin­gos and these birds just walked right up to every­one. He stood there in the mid­dle of these huge birds with no fear, just amaze­ment. He was only 21 months at the time. So you have to won­der how much of this love and inter­est in birds and ani­mals is due to expo­sure ver­sus an innate inter­est in these ani­mals. I am sure it is a com­bi­na­tion of both, just like every­thing else is. I will be curi­ous to see if he grows this inter­est on his own like I did, or if this is going to be one of many fas­ci­na­tions that he has as a tod­dler. I hope he con­tin­ues to appre­ci­ate ani­mals the way I do. I know I will be encour­ag­ing it, as much as possible.