vendredi, février 29, 2008

I suppose there are people who transcend, or mature beyond, or build a psychological wall between them and their family of origin. If you knew them at 30, say, they might bear little outward resemblance their parents or siblings.

Sometimes these evolutions are a blessing, as when a child survives dysfunction and abuse, and goes on to lead a healthy life, find lasting love, do meaningful work. Other times, however, as with divorced couples, many spend years in an endless dance of rejection and ambivalence. In those cases, progress is only illusory.

I've been pondering the nature-nurture conundrum. On the surface, it is an odd subject for a middle-aged woman. You would think I'd figured this one out, and made peace with it, decades ago. But as I view my own decisions, and watch my kid's personalities become more sharply etched, I see a heritage of pessimism and hope, trust and skepticism. I wonder perhaps if they are not a product of biology as much as of choice. There's nothing morally wrong with either.

Perhaps the skeptic has it right-the world is full of conmen and hustlers. You have only to check your spam filter to know the truth of that. Being a pessimist in a world in which people are so often indifferent or cruel may be closer to reality in a universe of school shootings and Darfurs.

And yet how can you help heal the pain of the wounded, or even your own, if you don't believe that people are capable of change? Everyday I see the choice before me. Sometimes I choose to have faith in the goodness of the human spirit. Other times, not so much. But, like my mother before me, I find it tempermentally easier to believe, to hope, to trust-than not.

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