The Gene Pool is Enormous


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All my children have the same parents and  have lived in basically the same environment. Yet each child inherited not only different physical genes but different character traits as well. This gene pool is larger than I ever dreamed  it could be.The differences between my offspring are mind-boggling. Actually the truth is that every person is completely different. My two oldest children are dramatic examples.

My first child, Mark, was  and still is serious and contemplative. At eleven or twelve months, he would sit and slowly place household objects in a plastic jug after observing each object carefully. He would then dump them out and start all over again, all in silence.When Mark was only four, Michael taught him how to play checkers. Both men would sit in silence, contemplating each move.Children-Oil-Painting-17

When my second child, Jean, was born everything we thought we knew about child development exploded. Where Mark was cautious, she was daring.  She was only nine or ten months old, when I walked into the kitchen and found her sitting on the fridge! I froze in shock and yelled for her father to come witness this event.

Michael, my husband, had decided that by four, a child was ready to play checkers. Since Mark picked the game up so quickly, he figured all kids would follow suit. After only ten minutes of playing with his daughter, he was becoming frustrated;  Jean was standing up, hopping from foot to foot and jumping checkers backwards and forwards, skipping two, three, four squares at a time.

product_thumbFinally, I intervened and said, “Honey, I don’t think Jean will ever play checkers like Mark; you’re just going to have to let go and go with the flow.” Although he managed to survive that first checker game with his daughter, Michael didn’t play checkers with Jean for another few years.

Jean? She was happy doing her own thing and glad to leave that particular boring activity to the men in the family.

Every child is unique. I originally believed that everything could be explained in my dog-eared book on child development. My children soon shattered that myth. Of course, general guidelines hold true but ultimately it is up to the parents to intuitively and tentatively discover which approach clicks with each little person.

I just remembered another story. Jean was about fifteen or sixteen months old gleefully picking up worms as we dug up the garden. 8769010_fullscreenMark at three and a half, acting on some deep macho instinct, forced himself to pick up worms too.

Jean had a peaceful sleep that night.

Mark? He woke up screaming with visions of worms dancing in his head.

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4 thoughts on “The Gene Pool is Enormous

  1. My experience was exactly the reverse, thank goodness. I don’t know if I could have handled thinking I had it all figured out and then found out I didn’t. My oldest destroyed all the parenting advice and ensured my humility very early on. Then my daughter came along and behaved exactly opposite. I frequently have people jokingly ask if I am sure they are related. The five I have had since then have all presented their own unique personalities, but no contrast has been as stark as between the first two.

    Liked by 1 person

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