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Kelly: Fascinated by Little Minds

As a mother of twins, most days I feel like I’m living in a real life nature vs. nurture theory experiment. Will two children who popped out of the same womb three minutes apart, and who live in the same house with the same parents, and attend the same schools with the same teacher in the same classroom be basically the same child? I am here to give you a resounding “No way, Jose!”

Take a look at these graphs. This was a homework assignment in my girls’ math awareness series. I taught a class Monday night, and DH left these sitting out on the kitchen counter for me to see when I got home. Both girls followed the directions: color in one number 1 on the first row, color in two number 2’s on the second row, color in three number 3’s on the third row, etc. And both graphs are technically correct, yet look at how different they are. This was fascinating to me! And what fascinated me more was which graph belonged to which child. To date, Olivia has very much been a “color in the lines” kind of girl. All her drawings are typically very well thought out and organized; Sarah, on the other hand, has been a vertible Jackson Pollack. Looking at these then, I assumed that the organized picture was Livvie’s and the all over the board picture was Sarah’s. What that’s saying about the true meaning of assume? You got it. This time, the organized picture was Sarah’s and the all over the board picture was Olivia’s! I need a child psychologist to figure this one out.

Working in education, I hear so much about nature vs. nurture and how it affects not only our children’s success in the classroom, but moreover their success as creative, positive contributors to society as a whole. Through my visits to elementary school classrooms lately and my talks with those teachers, parent involvement is certainly crucial to children’s success; that’s the nurture part. Yet, though elementary, these simple math exercises seem to also point to the major differences nature sends us out into the world with. Interesting, don’t you think? I’m a certified Myers-Briggs and True Colors trainer, so I’m always fascinated by personality differences and how we all look at the world through different lenses, particularly for me when it comes to my twin girls. So what are your thoughts? What have you learned from your children’s differences in personalities? This should be an interesting lesson in creativity!

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cathy #

    i’m lucky both my guys have creativity at the forefront. k is a young fantasy writer with more pages on his longer projects than i have on mine, and he’s 13. he also draws ‘comics’ and definitely has a director’s mind if you can follow the rpg games he makes up and enlists any kids he can into playing.

    s has some unique qualities as a comedian, actor, mimic, memorization unequaled, and he wants to make giant monster films. specifically move to la or tokyo now so that he can. his learning style only works when he’s interested and he repeats either verbally or by drawing anything he likes until it is ingrained in his consciousness til he can make somethign of his own grow from what he practices.

    he reminds me a lot of the old sufi tale of the child who was learning one, and everyone was so disappointed that he wasn’t progressing like the others, so he went off to live alone in the woods. years later he came back and said i think i have finally learned one, whereupon he drew the number on a wall and it split into two.

    i watch baby c now, and she has the same unblinking observance and active engagement in her surroundings that k had as an infant, but there is an aspect to her personality that is much more measured and deliberate, and emotionally mellow by comparison to both her bros. i dare say we have another writer on our hands. her late paternal grandfather was a painter as well. it remains to be seen what she may do with his easels and supplies…she also really likes to figure out how things work, like my father – an engineer at heart, and her own daddy.

    fascinating to ponder. thanks, kelly.

    October 28, 2008
  2. i think wondering what’s going on in the minds of the wee little ones, like your baby c, is most fascinating. my girls can at least tell me what they are thinking and i love the uncomplicated way they look at the world. i think, as adults, we bring our own baggage to whatever it is we are seeing and experiencing. little children just truly see what’s there oftentimes much more clearly than we can.

    October 29, 2008
  3. I love this, Kelly — how interesting that the girls’ graphs were the opposite of what you might expect. I can’t wait to hear more as they grow — and keep you guessing!

    October 29, 2008

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