I spent a lot of time this summer thinking about survival.  What we do to survive and how survival shapes us.  I find myself reflecting more about this topic. Survival is about your personal nurture more than nature.

After reading the book We Were the Lucky Ones, a true story about the survival of a Polish family in WWII.  It is amazing what this family did to survive.  Sometimes it was just fate and other times pure chutzpah.  There is no doubt that what each of them lived through changed who they were for ever.  I wonder if I would have survived that horrific time in history.

The book 4 3 2 1 forces the reader to think about survival.  Each of those 4 lives, with the same exact character, shaped his outcome but not who he was at his core.  I wrote about this book after reading it.

Then I read something like Evicted and wonder how those children living in these circumstances will be shaped by those survival experiences.  Will they rise to the occasion to always have a roof over their head or will they just fall into the same endless cycle of despair that their parents, unfortunately, provided for them?

Everyone has a story about growing up.  Your parents are your first role models.  You don’t know anything else.  Sometimes you revere them and other times as you get older you question their decisions.  Regardless, who we are individually at the core doesn’t change, it just gets molded by our experiences.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pranay Srinivasan

    behavior is a mirror to inputs. most of it is subconscious because we dont look at ourselves closely enough.

    1. Gotham Gal

      We def don’t look closely enough at ourselves

  2. awaldstein

    Couldn’t agree more.I think about this a lot with my mom now being gone, in fact everyone being gone.Not a lot of money, lots of support and love and an embrace of melting their culture into a new one.They did a great job and I”m forever grateful honestly.

  3. Susan Rubinsky

    This is a great topic. One I think about often. Why am I ambitious and successful while my brother is a drug addict who still lives with our Mom? Why did I choose to escape while my brother chose to succumb? Given that my brother and I both had similar genes and circumstances, It’s never a clearcut answer. Like everything else in the world, it’s nature, nurture and luck. A tiny shift in any one can have compounded outcomes.

    1. Gotham Gal


    2. LE

      I don’t know your situation obviously but have seen many many cases where the following happens. You have one child that is far superior (in the eyes of the parent) than the other child/children. As a result the parents focus more love, attention and reinforcement on that child and the other child then feels that they will never be able to do well enough to also have the same attention (and/or love). In most cases and in a different family the ‘lesser’ child could be considered to have high potential. Or even in the same family. If they didn’t have a sibling who was ‘better’ (in the eyes of the parent once again) than they are. So it almost becomes a ‘why even try’ situation to that child. All of this is (to your point) without even considering other reasons for why children from the same family may end up in different places.