When we come into the world we are completely helpless, but we learn at a tremendous rate! It is important where we are and who we are around these early days, weeks, months and years of our life because it makes us who we are at our core. When I was a child, there was a story about a little boy in the wild west of Texas who fell out of the back of a wagon and was found and raised by coyotes. His name was Pecos Bill. Bill didn’t look like the other coyotes but his home was the prairie and his favorite pastime was howling at the moon. Of course this is a tall tale, but it goes towards the point.
Our potential intelligence, skin and eye color, blood and body type are set and are inherited from our parents. On the other hand, our education, motivation, values, beliefs, and appearance are not inherited but highly influenced by society and whoever raises us. So what we have is a combination of givens and variables. Our mothers and fathers are irrefutably involved in both, even if they are absent after birth! The ‘givens’ come about through nature (genes) while the ‘variables’ are the result of nurturing (memes).
If you look at the extremes of civilizations, you can clearly see the influence of culture--that being how and where one was raised. Aborigines have a lifestyle that we in the western world would call backward while the Aborigines would say our lifestyle is frightening and too complicated. Even your religious beliefs are formed by your family and surroundings more than any research, logic or visions. While a few people change religious beliefs when they are older, it is often because they weren’t immersed in their original beliefs in the first place, again due to the influence, or lack thereof, of those who raised them.
If children and teenagers come from an incomplete environment that hasn’t taught social mores, nor the value of self-esteem and the lessons of a successful life, their odds of getting out of their environmental rut are stacked against them. We are shaped by both our genes and our memes.
From, The Power of Dadhood: A Better Society Starts with Dad
“It is in the home...
- ...where children should learn kindness, goodness, values, discipline, and manners.
- ...where children should find understanding, caring, and comfort.
- ...where successful lives should begin, with open minds, encouragement, and love.
- ...where compassion should exist, where the safety nets of our children’s failures are made of rubber bands, ready to sling them back into the world — stronger, wiser, and with new momentum.
If we were to find these characteristics in all homes, what kind of world would we have? Certainly most homes have some of these characteristics, a lucky few have most, and some have none. I don’t have to spout statistics, although they are readily available, to convince you that in those homes where fathers are present and involved, the chances for success and happiness are much greater.”
Families are implicitly involved in forming the attitudes of their children. If you see yourself as a winner, you’ll be a winner. If you see yourself as a victim, you’ll be a victim. Winners with no advantages will beat losers with all the advantages just about every time.