A bunch of us occasionally get together to catch up on life, love and the universe. One evening after we’d sorted out world events, the topic turned closer to home. Someone mentioned nature versus nurture and it was on for young and old. Actually it was on for middle aged and up. There was six hundred years’ worth of life experience in that room (you work it out) so you would have thought we’d be of one accord. If you did think that, however, you’d be wrong. But then the experts don’t agree, why should we? Of course when I say experts I mean those opinionated types who have degrees but don’t necessarily have children or base their opinions on decades of raising children.

The room was divided on the issue. Some said nature, some said nurture and some (including me) believed that both were important. The older you get the more of yourself you recognise in your parents. When your child says, ‘how did you know?’ you smile mysteriously and make him think that mummy knows everything. But you know because you’ve been there and done that and now you are reliving it in your children.

And they have the curly hair or the red hair, or Uncle Danny’s chin. They’re good at sports or hopeless at sports. That’s nature.

Nurture has to do with giving your children the best chance to manage in the world outside the family unit with or without you. You train them up to be the best they can be. I’d rather bore my children with lectures and explanations than smack, they in their turn bore their own children. My partner told our children adventure stories in which they were the central characters. It gave them self-confidence and stimulated their imagination.  Our children do the same for their children now. We gave our  children unconditional love, they returned the favour both to us and to their children. I’m not sure who said it or in what context, but I like it: whatever you put in you get back tenfold.

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