Posted by on Apr 18, 2012 in inheriting personality traits, is a child's personality inherited, is personality genetic, personality inherited, toddler personality | 0 comments

I am convinced that Potential Future Kid #2 will be a crazed, fearless wildebeest child.

I think this for two reasons.

1. Because Ryan is oh-so cautious and 2. I know I will not get that lucky twice.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this kid is cautious. There is a small inch-high step from the concrete portion of our back deck to the brick portion. He has stepped up and down and up and down approximately 250 times. I know what he’s doing. He’s trying to perfect the motion just in case he should ever find himself trying to clear it in a hurry.

Furthermore, not only was he a late walker, he is also a late runner. At almost 19 months old, I just saw him run for the first time the other day when he was particularly excited for me to pick him up from daycare. I’m not even really sure you can call it a run… maybe it was more like a speed-walk. But it’s as close as he’s ever come.

In addition, you have never seen a kid get off a couch in such a safe and calculated manner until you’ve seen my kid do it. Really, it’s a whole coordinated three-step process (get up on knees / turn onto tummy / loooooower yourself down).

As I’ve mentioned before, I love this about him. Not only has it eased a bit of my new-mom, god-I-hope-he-doesn’t-break anxiety, but it’s also pretty cute.

But Mike doesn’t agree that Potential Future Kid #2 will be a big ironic mess of energy-gone-wild. He thinks PFK#2 is more likely to be as cautious as Ryan.

Mike’s argument is that Ryan inherited his personality from us. We both tend to be cautious in life. We’re not daredevils. We always wear our seat belts, we thoroughly think through all important decisions. We’re rule-followers.

I’ve always thought of personality as something uniquely individual. Not something you inherit genetically and not something you learn. Something you’re born with that originates from … I don’t know … It’s celestial or something.*

“He inherited physical traits from us,” Mike said. “Why couldn’t he inherit mental traits?”

It’s hard to argue with that. Especially when one has not sat in a science classroom in 10 years – and even then, one might not have been fully paying attention.

Then I started thinking about my own family. My parents, my brother, myself. We’re all sarcastic.** Did my parents pass on the sarcasm gene? Or are my brother and I sarcastic because we learned by example? Or was it a stroke of random luck*** that four very sarcastic personalities just so happened to land in the same house for two decades?

What do you think? Is personality all nature? All nurture? Is it inherited or is it completely individual? Am I lucky enough to snag two cautious kids or will Potential Future Kid #2 be an utterly destructive tornado?

*I might need to put more thought into this.
**No really, it’s true.
***Or misfortune, if you’ve ever hung out with the four of us at once for any length of time.