Friday, January 16, 2009

RTF: Early In the Morning...

Way back when, I took an Educational Psychology class. In that class, I learned that our intelligence is a combination of two things – nature and nurture. Nature, obviously, is self-explanatory. It is those inert qualities that God has bestowed on us. Nurture, on the other hand, is just the environment which shapes us.

The argument is that if you take two people with equal “natural intelligence”, a separating factor could be the environment that influenced their perception and interpretation of concepts. I guess that’s what makes siblings to be different, for instance.

I believe that culture is one of those things that act as a nurturing agent.

See, one cold winter morning, I received a call from a fellow gentleman. This gentleman happens to be also from Bongoland. In a thousand ways, we share the same background.
The call came in it at around 6:30AM. When I looked at the caller ID, I identified that person who was calling. From my experience in the United State, you typically don’t get calls that early, unless it is something serious. As such my expectation was there was something serious, only to realize it was just a matter that I could have been informed of at 10:00am!

I was ticked off, but that got me thinking….

See, the cultural realities of the American life have affected my reception, perception and interpretation of certain things. From an American perspective, I could have just berated this caller, not for the message but for the timing. I mean, seriously, why would you wake up someone for stuff that could have been discussed later in the day?

That, however, is from one side of the coin.

See, where I grew up (precisely, Shirati, Tarime, Mara, Tanzania, East Africa) it is not surprising for folks to pay a visit to you (especially if you are in a position to resolve their “problem”) early in the morning. The reason, as I got thinking, is that folks in place like Shirati take life on a daily basis. No long term plans, because even if they wanted to have long term plans, life just does not allow it.

Given lack of resources leading folks to live day-to-day, timing is everything. Timing matters. If you have an issue and you know a certain cousin can lend a hand, you better go early before the cousin receives requests for the day!

As I thought of that, I just laughed, for I know that my caller was operating on a default mode. Seriously, how could one shave off a natural tendency acquired in a period of over 40 years in less than five years? It is difficult…and I think those psychologists who identified nurture as a factor in our actions are right.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting!!!