Blog #33—Nature vs. Nurture
When I was in first grade, I experienced a seminal event that forever shaped my response to authority.
It was a sunny winter day, which meant it was very cold, and we were at recess, outside. I complained to my teacher, Mrs. Cole, that I was freezing. I will never forget her. Dry black hair with wisps of gray. Dark eyes. Scarf around her neck. Hands in her coat pockets. She gave me textbook advice, “Move around. Go play. That’ll warm you up.” I was 6 and that did not make any sense to me, so I refused and continued to complain. She eventually lost patience. It may have been the tone of her voice, but I finally surrendered and moped my way toward the other kids. I may have even skipped once or twice while looking back at her. (Note: I would have burst into flames if any kid of mine did that. I digress.)
Two minutes later she raised her hand and sounded her whistle signaling time for the class to go inside. Not me, I thought. I finally got out here under extreme duress and now you want me to come in? No way. I am going to play on this merry-go-round by myself. So, I ignored her.
I guess I got bored after a few minutes and like I said, it was very cold. When I got inside (the doors to the classroom opened up directly to the playground area like a motel) she was already seated at her desk. As I walked past, she reached over and grabbed me by the jacket, two hands at my collarbone, and she shook me with a rage I have rarely seen since. “You! Will! Come! When! I! Call!”
Make a fist and shake your hands and say that out loud with pauses and that is how long she shook me.
I get her frustration now, not that I condone physical violence, but I get it. Some would call me a brat. Others, independent. Obstinate. Disrespectful. I know. I said I get it. My point is this: I still act that way with authority figures whom I do not respect. Mrs. Cole didn’t make me this way, nor could she shake it out of me. She simply ignited the first memory I have of rebelling. The greater point is that my parents had absolutely nothing to do with this visceral personality trait. As parents, they were pretty easy going and polite. That pride and obstinance was in me all along.
How your kids turn out isn’t fully on you.
Think about that. We are all influenced by everyone around us like the father who lets us do things mom would never approve of and says, “Don’t tell you mother.” Or the fun uncle who lets you hold the steering wheel of the car, or that kid down the street who taught you how to smoke. What does this have to do with Renny Run? We're just a tool, a resource, a little something affirming that might light up your kid's imagination or give you some peace of mind when you don't know where to turn.
I came across this Ted Talk. It’s a good one about how little anyone actually has to do with the way a person turns out. Basically, it says we are who we are right out of the womb. Interesting. It’s only 16 minutes long and worth it especially if you are blaming yourself for not doing better with your own little ones or you can’t believe that those other kids in your house, who shared your parents and upbringing, are related to you.
Renny Run. Confidence. Not clothes.