Nature or Nurture?

A question as old as time but something I was pondering the other night.  For about 15 years I have babysat a former co-worker’s 4 children, well, there were only 2 when I started.  When the 4th child arrived, there were 4 under 4 and that’s a lot of kids to watch!  As they got older I quickly learned that the best way to have a good night was to keep everyone busy and so I started bringing crafts for everyone to do.  Fast forward to this past Wednesday, the kids are now 15 (twin boys), 13 and 11 so I’m basically their personal driver when their parents are busy.  The younger two are girls and are still very much all about the crafts.  I picked up the 13 year old from school and she started telling me about how awesome Michael’s is and she wanted to know if that’s where I got all our craft supplies.  She had just taken her first trip to the store and now all she wants for her birthday are gift cards to Michael’s.  Later, both girls were crafting – the 13 year old with her recently acquired scrapbooking suppplies and the 11 year old was using her perler beads to make something for a classmate.

I have told this story to both my mom and my knitting group and both said they were sure it was because I did all those crafts with them over the years.  This got me thinking – were they born with an innate tendency towards crafting or had I really nurtured them into having a love for crafts?  I thought back on my own craft history.  My mom does a number of crafts.  I don’t recall doing crafts with her but I do recall her doing crafts while I was growing up.  One of my grandmother’s did crafts with me as a child.  Her and her sister tried to teach me to crochet when I was little.  So, I could very well have the craft gene.  From there I joined Girl Scouts and recall how they would have winter craft weekend at one of the camps.  We would stay in the cabins and we could chose which craft classes we wanted to take.  I remember learning cross stitch, toling (I’m not even sure I remember what that is), maybe some etching.  I loved those weekends!  I did cross stitch for a number of years.  I was pretty heavy into scrapbooking for awhile, and still enjoy a good scrapbook night every so often.

With the kids, we did everything – perler beads, Make It-Bake It, foamies, God’s eyes, pot holder looming, painting, and whatever fun kits I would find at craft stores.  For awhile the 13 year old went through an origami phase, definitely not my craft but we found books and papers and gave it a stab.  The crafts also worked as good bribes – nothing got the kids to eat and bathe more than the promise of a craft when that stuff was all done.  I would never tell them what I brought – it was always a surprise and I think that made it fun too.  Turned out the 13 year old is quite creative and gifted in the craft area.  Their mom is not a craft person and freely admits her kids never would have exposed to half of this stuff without me.  I’m not sure if there any crafters in their family where they picked up the craft gene but they were definitely nurtured with crafts.  The girls still complain that we have not done a craft in a long time.  They are both so busy with other activities that we are never home to do one.  I would love to teach them to knit (we have done finger knitting and spool knitting) so maybe one night we all have some time to play with the yarn and needles.

I don’t have an answer for this one (does anyone ever get an answer to the nature/nurture question???) but it’s something to think about!  Oh, and I looked for pictures of our crafts and only found this one of some potholders we loomed.  I think many of our crafts were pre cell phone camera days so I could not capture all of our creations 😦


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