by Guillermo Bautista Jr.
I came from a poor family and was raised by a single parent who values education so much. The first phrase that probably stuck in my mind before even entering grade school was that “education is important.” My mother would repeatedly say that education is the only legacy that she can give me since she has practically nothing at all. So during grade school, I always looked forward to going to school every morning even though I had to walk around two kilometers. At night, I had to study under the canopy of light emanating from a gasera since we had no electricity back then. Now, I realized that from that very moment, my mother was already nurturing me by encouraging me to study hard as a preparation for my future.
After graduating sixth grade, we went to Manila. My mother went abroad to work in order to support my studies. The new environment was not very encouraging. Some friends influenced me to play video games, so I was distracted. Although I was on the top section during my high school, I forgot the “study hard for your future” phrase. I abandoned studying other subjects except for mathematics.
The reason for this long narrative is to give an example that a nurturing environment can shape a person. The talent of a person can be better maximized if the environment is encouraging and if other persons around then push them to their limits.
Srinivasa Ramanujan, a brilliant mathematician from India is a supporting example of the strong influence of nurture. When he was about 13, he read a book on Advanced Mathematics and discovered and proved theorems which were not proved by mathematicians during his time. His mentor in India discovered that Ramanujan was extraordinarily gifted, so he contacted G. H. Hardy, a mathematician from Britain to train him. Ramanujan solved some of the most difficult problems during his time but he had to attend classes in order to improve and formalize his knowledge.
The moral of the story is although we have gifts from nature, we also need and environment and people to nurture those gifts. For example, studies show that by the age of three, children with professional parents heard 45 million words addressed to them as opposed 26 million words of working class kids (Lindsay, 2012). This only shows that some children are already at an advantage very early in their lives.
To conclude, nature is a gift but nurture will make the most of those gifts. We may have extra gifted genes, but we need people to nurture us. That’s why nature and nurture share the responsibility of shaping us to who we are and will continue to shape us to who we will become.
Lindsey, B. (2012). The Real Problem With Helicopter Parents: There Aren’t Enough of Them. The Atlantic.
Kanigel, R. (2016). The man who knew infinity: A life of the genius Ramanujan. Simon and Schuster.