Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nature vs Nurture?

Friend Sara (grandmotherhood and exercise) had a blog entry today that got me thinking. You see Sara is a runner. When I met her, I would say that she probably didn't think of herself as such. But now she is training for her first marathon (yea Sara!).

I have tried running through the years, mostly as a means to an end, to make the baseball or football team. Later I used it mainly for exercise, but I never became a runner like Sara. These days the only running you are likely to see me engaged in is if someone large and angry is chasing me, and I am unarmed...or maybe a run to the frige at halftime. It's not that I didn't want to be a runner per just never happened.

Sara's transformation from non-athlete to mega-athlete happened gradually to the casual observer, but I suspect at one specific point in time something about running resonated deep within her psyche. Sara probably can tell you when and where she was when it clicked that she was a runner. Perhaps she was designed by nature to be a runner.

For me, nothing resonates like the outdoors. I love it all...gardening, camping, hiking, photography, hunting and fly-fishing. I even have some photographic proof of my rock climbing and rappelling days. But I can't tell you when it clicked for seems as though I have always been crazy about the outdoors.

I was introduced to the outdoors at a very early age. Both sets of grandparents had farms, so nature was just outside the back door.

I helped in grandmothers' gardens and went on mushroom hunts. I learned how to eat honeysuckle "honey". I was shown impressions of an owl wing imprinted on fresh snow when it swooped to catch a mouse. I followed the the men around on rabbit hunts and caught fish in the pond across the fence from the old home place. I was lulled to sleep at night listening to whippoorwills and cricket songs, sometimes paying homage to the day's chigger bites.

I come from hearty blue collar country folk who earned their living with their hands, and depended on nature to put meat in the pot when money was scarce. So one could take the position that I was destined to be an outdoorsman becuase of my exposure and encouragement in outdoor activities.

My brother grew up in a similar environment. He likes the outdoors well enough, but I wouldn't say it's his passion. We share parents, many common experiences including exposure to the outdoors. But we have different passions. Thus my belief that my passion is the result of nurture rather than nature.

So my question to you gentle reader ...when you think about your passion, what do you think is the driving force behind it? Maybe nature, like Sara who maybe would say that running is in her DNA? Or maybe you think it is nurture, like me because of many outdoor experiences that cultivated my passion? It's your turn to sound off!


Sara Lisch said...

Glad I could finally inspire you. You are right that I've always been a nature lover. Running I fell in love with accidentally. I started running mostly from being tired of being "the fat sister" but grew to love the serenity and sense of accomplishment.

We should all 4 check out some of these places together:

tdillow said...

hmmm.....Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary...just ponder that one for a bit. Well, almost is fitting. :-0

Mark said...

I plead the fifth....

Sara Lisch said...

I think that's an omen that we were all 4 meant to take a trip there together. Let's do it!

Mark said...

Are there fish there?

Sara Lisch said...

It's Florida - of course there are fish...and 'gators too, according to the article.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

photography, music, politics, color...and life in a vivid manner, so to speak.
I guess this is just how I'm living right now. In a very authentic way.
I've always loved politics and music, but now it's just more pronounced. Photography is new, but I'm so excited about it. I hope to take my first college course in the fall. We'll see!

Anonymous said...

Mark, thank you for praying for Papaw. That means a lot.

Mark said...

Pinky, I think I speak for all of the bloggers when I say we were honored to have the chance. He sounded like an awesome guy. You have been blessed to have had time with him, and his legacy lives on in you.

Steph said...

I'm passionate about music.

Really good music.

I think it's both in my nature and a result of nurturing. My parents listened to great stuff when I was younger. I grew up on CCR, Elvis, Dolly Parton, Neil Sedaka... My love for music came early and I was singing and playing the piano all the time as a kid. The DNA factor is there, too. My mom has a beautiful voice and plays the piano and my dad's a guitar player and has even written some songs. So I guess my take is that most of the time our passions come from within, and from without us.

Great post, bro. :)

Mark said...

Thanks Steph. If you like great music, you need to borrow my 3rd Day Chronology1 CD.
And watch the Trailer Park Troubadours UTube on Pinky's blog! ;-)

steph's mom said...

Old stuff...that is, older than me stuff. Things that have the imprint of time and history. When I look at it, I don't see that broken, old piece of junk, but it's past and those who used it. Those who cleaned it so much it lost all its original luster. Those who were disappointed when that small crack or chip appeared, but kept using it anyway, either because they had nothing else, or because they cherished it too much to part with it.

That's my passion, but not the answer to your question. I don't know if I love old stuff because my family never had enough money for new stuff, so I learned to appreciate what we had or could get, or if I'm just a foolish romantic.

My dad was a huge packrat. He never threw anything away, but not because he loved it, because he might need it someday. So, is it nature or nurture? Or, just a different excuse for collecting junk!?!

Mark said...

Interesting, stephs' mom...I have really enjoyed seeing everyone's replies.
Foolish romantic? No such thing! ;-)