Two Things Make Us - How We Write Our Destinies - School Contents

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Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Two Things Make Us - How We Write Our Destinies

At the elementary level, a child may fortunately be intelligent or unfortunately poor. Either way, we generally conclude that such a child might have inherited it from either parents or both. This becomes more conclusive if we have prior knowledge of his or her parents’ academic or intellectual abilities. Interestingly, we can be right!

Truly, limitation in a child’s academic efficiency can be traced to parents, for science has unveiled that genes of either of the parents usually affect a child’s academic response.

Environmental factors such as schools and families can as well be more significant in a child’s intelligence; as equally revealed by scientific findings.

Gene and Environment

A gene is the unit of heredity by which a biological trait is passed down through generations of human beings. Heritability describes what percentage of the variation of a trait in a population is due to genetic differences in that population (as opposed to environmental factors).

Science is more certain about traits like eye color, which are highly heritable and can be easily traced to parents and generations. However, even highly heritable traits are subject to environmental influences during development.

Intelligence is generally considered to be more complicated to be traced to one source because it is a polygenic trait, influenced by many interacting genes. This is why scientists are yet to pinpoint a specific gene.

A recent work published in the Journal of Scientific Reports, suggests that the same genes are involved across subjects.

To complement this position, Robert Plomin, a professor of Genetics at King’s College London and the study’s senior author said, “We found that, academic achievement in English, Maths, Science, Humanities, Second languages and Art were all affected by the same genes. People may think that they’re good at one subject and bad at another, but in reality, most people are strikingly consistent.”

In support of this, the study above concluded that, “Results in all subjects, including Maths, Science, Art and Humanities, were highly heritable, with genes explaining a bigger proportion of the differences between children (54-65%) than environmental factors, such as school and family combined (14-21%)...”

Parents and Environment

Though I deserved the class captain from primary to secondary classes - because I worked hard for it, yet I concluded that I had been blessed with my parents' genes. I taught I'd represented my dad's intelligence and mum's industry.

Dad has passed on before mum remarried. But she never seems to ever forget his wisdom.

Mum never told stories of parties with dad or events of shopping with him. Instead, she would remind us of what he would do or say on occasions when they arose.  And most of the times I acted, mum would say, "that's your dad's relic". "You take so much after, not only his skin but his intelligence".

I grew up to know my mum as a very active woman. She was full of schedules which I couldn’t remember a day she missed one. She did everything to send us to school and got us participating in all she did for a living. Ask me how to make “Alapa” and you are just in a class of a professor.

It has always been my belief that I was able to study hard and do well in my studies because of these two people who share the qualities of diligence and intelligence. Really - I was never wrong.

Though a study contrarily reported that there's yet to be a scientific proof that genes of either or both parents determine a child’s intelligence. The study attributed on a large scale, our intelligent quotient to the environments we find ourselves.

Unfortunately, like nature has not given us the freedom to choose who our parents are, we've been equally deprived of environments to be brought up from, especially at our dependence stage. Show me a child who can decide his family and education to have.

No doubt about it, the level of intelligence of a child is still generally the fault or pride of parents. This is because parents determine our environment at least for the first phase of our lives. They choose our schools, our food, our surroundings, even our friends which among others constitute our environment. Perhaps that’s why a TV respondent opined that a child is 85% parents and 15% environment.

The Intelligent Man and the Pretty Lady

There were once an intelligent man and a very pretty lady. This man was though respected for his knowledge and wisdom, yet he’s so ugly that people hardly stood his look. The pretty young lady was, however, unintelligent and she’s on most occasions been taken for a fool.

One day, the poor lady approached the young man. She aimed to convince him to become her husband because she’d hope they would give birth to, not only beautiful children but also intelligent ones. She believed their children would definitely share from either parent’s genes.

The man smiled for a while and said, “What if instead, we have set of children who are as ugly as I am and at the same time unintelligent as you are?”

Most people believe that parents’ intelligence gives a child edge in performance in schools. This is partly correct if both parents are intelligently blessed. Otherwise, he may borrow from a wrong gene.

If a child is unlucky with genes, he can be compensated with the right environment. Better genes equals better child may be wrong if such a child ends up in an environment that is not supporting.

Meanwhile, experience has shown that in most cases, only intelligent and disciplined parents are usually capable of creating an environment that will encourage their children’s intelligence.

I want to believe that when industry meets with intelligence, which are products of genes, leading to environments parents create; the result can easily be felt on the child.

But it’s never the fault of a child if he finds himself or herself in a home that lacks one of or the two qualities. I guess we blame parents. Though they don’t have control over the gene (nature), they have it over the environment they live and bring up their children.

If you enjoy this episode, share with a friend or family. You can touch lives with it.

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