This is an interesting article which appeared recently in the New York Times. Here Dr. Perri Klass discusses the importance of Birth Order.

He says-

 ‘Everyone takes it personally when it comes to birth order. After all, everyone is an oldest or a middle or a youngest or an only child, and even as adults we revert almost inevitably to a joke or resentment or rivalry that we’ve never quite outgrown.’There are many conceptions about the effects of birth order. Some think that a first born child tends to boss his younger siblings around. And that younger children are always jealous and try to catch up with their older brothers and sisters.

Some people think that birth order can be used to explain every trait in a person- A certain person is extremely ambitious because he is a first born. Another is very easy-going because he is a younger brother.

But just how important is it whether you are the eldest, the youngest, or maybe an only child? Does this have a defining effect on a person’s temperament?

Then there is the debate – Nature v/s Nurture – There have been numerous discussions about the relative importance of an individual’s innate qualities (nature) versus personal experiences(nurture).

Both factors certainly influence the manner an individual’s personality develops. But which is more important?

I remember an amusing story I read many years ago.- A small boy brings home his report card which shows that he has obtained very low marks.

As he hands it to his father to read, he asks-

What do think the problem with me is, Dad? Heredity or Environment?”

Well, this certainly gets him off the hook! In either case, the blame rests squarely on his parents’ shoulders!

Which brings me to my question to my blogger friends.

There are many factors which shape an individual’s personality. Some we have seen just now.

But we also see occasionally that some people, though born into adverse circumstances, rise above them, and go on to become happy, admirable, successful, or talented individuals, as the case may be.

They may have been born in a poor home to uneducated parents. They may have been the youngest of several brothers and sisters.They may have been teased and picked on at school. But they seem to have an inbuilt strength that enables them to succeed in life despite their circumstances.

So just how important are the factors of birth order, heredity, parental influence, home environment, peer pressure, etc? Are they sometimes just used as excuses to explain away our shortcomings?

Are we looking outwards when we should perhaps be looking inwards?

What do you think?