The British naturalist and politician John Lubbock wrote, “Your character will be what you yourself choose to make it.” This brings up the idea of nurture and nature. Although this topic has been something discussed for many years, it is the influences beyond our control that shape our character. Even though many of people’s physical traits come from their parents, the mental and emotional characteristics come from outside influences that cannot be chosen, whether it is from personal experience or the way a person was raised.
People are not born with all of their characteristics. A person gains their character as he/she is growing up and experiencing new situations. When a child in kindergarten takes a crayon from a fellow peer, the teacher scolds him/her and tells the child that is not right. The teacher’s tone of voice and the negative experience of getting in trouble is an indicator to the child that what he/she did was wrong and shouldn’t be done again. Education plays an important role in building a child’s character. When children receive education, they are taught morals that will benefit them in the future, and they receive a sense of discernment.
The environment a person lives in can influence his/her characteristics. In William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, a plane filled with English schoolboys crashes on an unknown island. The boys, who were used to living in a wealthy society where their needs were always provided for, had to adopt a new, completely different lifestyle in order to survive. Because there was no one to take care over the young boys, they became like savages, unbound by rules. This eventually led to them killing wild animals and even each other. Golding’s novel connects to the difficulties of traveling to other countries. Because of the cultural diversities, it is difficult for a person to adjust to the lifestyle of another country, because he/she has been living influenced by another environment.
The media and pop culture are two reasons why our society has altered drastically over the past 20 years. In modern society, being different is something that is shunned upon. If a person lives a lifestyle that is different than what is popular and accepted, he/she is considered “weird” and “unacceptable”. This is why there are numerous cliques in schools, and why bullying is such a serious issue. People are afraid of judgment, and try to change who they are in order to fit in with the people they are surrounded by. The media and pop culture is exceptional at manipulating people into believing anything. They lead people to believe through advertising that what is popular is what they should live by. Take, for example, celebrities. Their fame, wealth, and talent are appealing. People desire to be like them because of their success, and try to live like these celebrities in hopes of becoming as successful as these celebrities.
Nature certainly has an effect on a person’s character. It is called nature because it serves as a person’s foundation. However, it is through experiences that people are truly made distinct.