Thanks to research, such as the Human Genome Project, scientists are learning every day how or genes effect us. They have discovered that there is a gene for disorders such as Bipolar Disorder or Addiction. Depression for example, which they “think” is genetic, can also be a learned behavior. For example, if a child has a parent with depression, they may mimic their behavior which literally “wires their brain” chemically to develop the disorder themselves.
The case of a Florida woman, Terri Shiavo, brought much attention to what we know about the brain. She suffered a cardiac arrest and was revived, yet it resulted in extensive death to portions of her brain. She was in a permanent vegetative state which in her case she could not comunicate, move voluntarily, experience thought or emotion. She was kept alive by a feeding tube. Her husband spent many years providing her with every therapy available, with no improvement. Finally he requested her feeding tube be removed, and for years fought her parents in court. Her parents wished she be kept alive. They were not convinced of her lack of comprehension. The courts eventually sided on the husband’s plea, but the case brought much debate in religious communities, scientific ones, and legal issues. What do we really know about the brain.
Progress is slow, but they have discovered that even our personality traits are determined by our genes, in the womb. As we develop in the fetal stage our personalities are developing. When we are born, we have traits immediately. This is a relief for us parents on some level. It shows us that there are simply some aspects of who are children become that we have no control over. What we CAN do is provide our children with the best possible tools to accentuate the positive tendencies and cope with the negative ones. We can provide our children with compassion too. They didn’t choose those “naughty” genes any more than we chose to give them to our child. :)
This knowledge also sheds light on people in your life. Having acceptance for others, knowing that they are who they are at any given moment in part to their genes, part life experiences. They deserve a little understanding for that too. :)