Dream, dream, dream
my little sheep
Dream that you are the moon.
Bold, beautiful, round and calming the sea…Dream
Life on Every Level
written & edited by Kendall F. Person
There are irrefutable differences between nature and nurture. Nature is passed down through the blood and especially prevalent in the wild, it is the instinct that enables animals to survive. In us, it may be the way we think, or how we relate to the world, and according to Professor Paul Bloom, a researcher at the Infant Cognition Centre at Yale University, it may dictate our moral code. Nature just happens, all by itself. But nurture, on some levels, is much harder, more complex. Nurture must be taught and it must be learned. It is what a child sees in his immediate world, during the all to important formative years. The fortunate are raised by parents who are wise, healthy, ambitious and caring. They also are nurturing, instilling within us self-esteem and whatever nature may have left out. Giving their offspring a chance to grow up knowing right from wrong, and understanding, that we are someone. But when nature has not gifted us a fair shot, and when we are not born into nor arrive at the doorstep of a nurturing home, than how do we learn to live a fulfilling life; and is there a way to keep from tearing ourselves apart?
In 1994, in America’s third largest city, Chicago, Illinois, there lived a little boy who never stood a chance. Born of an absentee father, who was a ward of the state, a drug addicted mother, who projected her pain onto him, and the only sunlight in his life, a grandmother, who was trying to shine her light on 19 other kids. His name was Robert Yummy Sandifer and by the time he was 3-years-old, he was well known in the overburden halls of the child protection system, and his abuse and neglect at home, were well documented.
With no one to nurture him, perhaps it was nature that took hold. The instinct to survive, adapt and play the game of life, with the cards that have been dealt. By the time he was 8, he was a menace to society. He dropped out of school – in the 4th grade no less – became a bully and a crook, even before he joined a street gang. The life he was leading was way over his young head. Thought he had all the answers, but with no education, absent of any structure or positive guidance, neglected by the system and invisible to society. Rather he was born with or without a moral code, is a debate without an answer, but what we do know is that Robert Yummy Sandifer never stood a chance. He would elevate his crimes from misdemeanor to that of a cold-blooded murderer. He would never be judged by a jury of his peers, for a rival street gang would assassinate him, ending his life of sorrow, by the tender age of 11 years.
they don’t know my struggle. they don’t know my pain.
The situation of his life is too complex to enter a judgement from either extreme end of the pole. Throwing money into an overburden system would have little effect if the system itself were flawed. And dismissing Yummy as a derelict on life, who should have pulled himself up by his own bootstraps, ignores the reality, that he had no bootstraps at all. How do we reach every child who needs us, or are we locked in a struggle of survival of the fittest? Was Robert destined to live the life he had; were the genes passed down from his parents the natural selection for his path? Or if he had received the nurture he deserved, could he had lived a more productive life, one more fitting for a kid?
In the United States of America, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. It is the busiest travel day of the year as family comes together, bonding over a traditional dinner. Most will offer thanks in prayer, either for good fortune or simply because we are here. But to those who are able, we should also use this time, to assist a child in need, so that they too may be thankful, and enjoy the innocence of their younger years. We each have our own struggles and pain, but most still have something to give. We may think because we have achieved, all can do the same. But what we ignore, is that there is life on every level, and some are in need of help. If we each offer a little, nurture will fill the gaps of nature, giving all of our children, at least a fighting chance.
– an Opinion from thepublicblogger