I’ve just finished watching Three Identical Strangers, a documentary about identical triplets unknowingly separated in infancy and raised in distinctly different and deliberately chosen adoptive homes. The documentary raises so many questions, while not giving a conclusive answer to whether nature or nurture plays the bigger role in a child’s development – the supposed intent of the secret study that is revealed.
As with many big questions, the answer simply isn’t clear cut. Also, a third element is missing – self-determination. How early or strongly that occurs in an individual is part of the debate, of course, but it stands out to me because at some point it takes over.
When I was nineteen I joined the army and even though my father was a soldier before me, what I saw gave me a very different view of the world. As I turned thirty, by now a civilian and working for a national charity, I started to question much of who I was and what I believed. Independently, I started arranging my values and principles differently. Not guided or bound by my past, but consciously separating who I have become with who I aspire to be.
I’m a work in progress, and neither nature nor nurture will have the final say.
The same, I believe, is true for you.