Nature v Nurture. What really rules mightier when raising kids? Lately it seems to me that my theories on raising kids with above average IQ’s and well rounded personalities to boot are holding true.

Just as it was proven in the book The Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any given field. When I read Malcolm Gladwell’sbook I said to myself, well gosh darn it, I was right after all. If only my parents nurtured my love for ballet when I was a little girl, I would’ve been a prima ballerina at age 18!!! If only….
Or if my parents supported my love for theater arts, I, not Lea Salonga, would’ve played Kim in Miss Saigon! (I vividly remember when the producers of Miss Saigon came to Manila for an open casting call and feeling oh, if only, mom and dad. If only…Why didn’t you pick up on my flair for the theater when I was in grade school??).
The list of what-ifs goes on and on for me, but there definitely is a co-relation to what our parents choose to shape our lives into in our formative years that will translate into our adulthood and what we ultimately become.
And who better a subject than Albert Einstein himself to answer the question of what makes a genius, is it nature or nurture?
It’s easy to deduct that if a child has parents or ancestors for that matter, who possess above average IQ’s then the offspring will have that genetically imprinted in their DNA. One conversation that comes to my mind is one I had with my brother, who happens to be a clinical psychiatrist, who tried to explain to me in layman’s terms, that kids with parents who are intelligent will inherit a sizable percentage of that intelligence themselves. Pretty straightforward. Enough studies have been conducted to prove that theory.
Back to our subject for today, Einstein. *“The team compared Einstein’s brain to those of 85 other people and found that the great physicist did indeed have something special between his ears. Although the brain (Einstein’s) is only average in size, several regions feature additional convolutions and folds rarely seen in others.”
The study went on to say, ” Einstein’s genius, Galubarda says, was probably due to some combination of a special brain and the environment he lived in.” (Galubarda, is a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School).
“Falk agrees that both nature and nurture were probably involved, pointing out that Einstein’s parents were very nurturing and encouraged him to be independent and creative, not only in science but also in music.” (Falk’s 2009 study found that a brain region linked to musical talent was highly developed in Einstein’s brain).
And there we have it. Two theories have been proven by this study.
  1. Its not the size, it’s how you use it. Pick your minds off the gutter folks. Its a fact, Einstein’s brain was average sized. It’s how he chose to fill his brain with scientific exploration and theories that made all those folds and other convolutions that developed that are exceptional.
  2. Having a highly developed region in his brain that is linked to creativity shows that a scientifically inclined mind that is also creatively inspired makes for genius cred.
And so, I will let my children listen to Beethoven, Springsteen, the Beatles and everything in between while I also make a mental  note to take them to the Natural History Museum and the local children’s Science Museum to make sure I nurture both sides of their brains. Watch out world, my little Einsteins will one day challenge E=MC2.
Special note to all tiger moms and dads out there: When your Doogie Howser kid(s) tells you he or she wants to learn how to rock out like Jagger or maybe in their case, Justin Bieber or that they want to take hiphop lessons at the local dance school, just go with it. After all, its a proven scientific fact, even Einstein learned how to get jiggy with it (I’m dating myself here but that’s the best dancing reference that comes to mind for me now).
*excerpts sourced from an article in the Washington Post Social Reader by Michael Balter

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