Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Nature vs. Nurture

Jada's personality is so similar to Amy's at times that I've taken to joking with Amy that I must have lost track of her at some point in our marriage – where she went to China, got pregnant, had a baby, got it in an orphanage, and then flew back here to finalize the adoption application to make sure we'd get it. 


Our surprise that she has so quickly incorporated nuances of our quirks (especially Amy's) into her being is tempered by the fact that even though we've only had Jada for eight weeks, we're already – by far – the two people that have spent the most time with her, played the most with her, held her the most, and so on. 


This brings up the whole "nature vs. nurture" debate.  Jada has none of our DNA.  There will be aspects of her temperament that have nothing to do with us but are hard-coded into her genetic make-up.  But aside from that, the rest of her personality and character are being formed right now, under our watch.  We will be the two most influential people in determining what kind of person she is. 

It is a little daunting to face up to that responsibility.  Our prayer is that we will be found to be two people who love Jesus, love each other, love their daughter, and love others.  That Jada will pick up on these and other positive attributes, and eventually own them for herself.  That though we will make mistakes with her and in her presence, she will see us forgive ourselves and others and be able to do the same.  And that through all the good and the bad, God will form in her a depth of character that we can be proud to have said we played a role in shaping.  If we want to help this child to mature into a beautiful and caring woman – and we do, desperately – we have had nothing in the "nature" category to offer.  All we can do is nurture.

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