The environment through my eyes – an Open Speech
The environment is the surroundings and conditions one is brought up in. Does nurturing an individual in the “correct” surroundings produce a “superior” human being?
Let us examine the evidence. I am going to use myself as the “guinea pig”, the subject of the “test”.
The first evidence of my advantage is my home environment. I was not born into a rich family. You could say it is lower middle class but my parents manage to put food on the table, send us to school, pay the fees, and occasionally treat us to “cheap” school outings [which actually are school sponsored] or an annual fast-food treat (yummy KFC). We are happy, united, and able to laugh at our lack of nature comforts. Being able to accept our lot makes us more determined to create opportunities. The environment is our teacher.
However, when I look at some of my schoolmates who come from broken homes and are traumatized by their conditions, I realize the environment can have a negative effect on the child.
My first conclusion is that the environment is important to the extent that the individual can cope with the lack of excesses.
My second evidence stems from my entry into the residential school system. I was plucked out from my ‘stable’ home environment and thrown into the wilderness, a completely alien world to join 13-year old girls and boys in a boarding school. Here, we have wardens to keep a vigilant eye on us and the school has rules and regulations which cover the whole gamut of our life for the days we are in school. Occasionally during weekends, term breaks, and holidays, we make the journey home but we come to regard the school as our first home. we learn discipline and time management.
I find that many take to the system like a duck to water but there are some who could not adapt to it. Some of them come from good homes, rich background with some from marginally deprived situations. The figures show that from within each group, there are a few dropouts or some who manage to swim and not drown. some from poor homes made fantastic improvements, some ho were high achievers did not succeed eventually. To some, the environment spurs them to excel, to some the environment is a hindrance.
The second conclusion is a mixture of the environment and heredity working in tandem so it really boils down to the individual to utilize all that he possesses to achieve his dreams.
My last evidence is when I compare my abilities with those of my siblings. I am good at languages, science, and mathematics but a fumbler when it comes to nuts and bolts and art. My younger brother could dismantle a bicycle and put me all together again in a jiffy. My demure quiet sister draws and colors “dreams”. My brother repairs my bicycle, my sister puts the finishing touches to my artistic goofs while I coach all in languages and Mathematics. I could not put our “achievements” to the environment but to the genes inherited from both parents.
The third conclusion leans towards heredity as the “element” responsible for the latent talent which only needs to be nurtured by the environment to flower and bloom.
Looking back in retrospect, I believe that the environment fine-tunes the inherited characteristics and makes room for latent talents to emerge. Added to these two elements is the inherent nature of the individual who nurtures his dreams into reality and realization.
The evidence and the conclusions point towards the fusion of the two: in some cases, the environment determines the future and in other cases heredity dominates. Which reigns fall solely on the individual; he charts his own course in life.