Nature or Nurture?

Contributing Editor Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor Walt Pickut

It’s an old question. Did your DNA or your childhood make you who you are?

Or maybe you and your own free will had something to do with it?

Even Captain Kirk on the Starship Enterprise (AKA actor William Shatner) couldn’t figure it out. He once said, “The conundrum of free will and destiny has always kept me dangling.”

Frankly, I’m not so sure which is more important either. It’s not a problem we’ll solve soon—if ever—and certainly not here.

This week your Jamestown Gazette is all about the nurture side of the question. With springtime finally blooming all around us, nurturing often takes the form of fertilizing our flowers and our new, hopeful veggie gardens. And sometimes that nurturing gets very creative. Consider these odd examples:
Take an extra-large doggie-bag to the zoo. Many sell exotic manure by the ton if you want elephant dung or tiger droppings—zoo brew—to grow your tomatoes.

Or stuff a few minnows down the hole before planting your corn and cucumbers—but watch out for neighborhood cats who’ll undo the whole thing just for a midnight snack.

And how about the rest of that scrambled egg? Some seedlings thrive on egg shells ground up with their potting mix.

But people are more interesting than plants, and people need nurturing, too. Fortunately, fertilizer has nothing to do with it. For us humans, nurturing means caring for and encouraging the growth, development, and wellbeing of someone in mind and spirit as well as their body.

So, this week’s focus in your Jamestown Gazette is on Mothers and Nurses—nurturers in all the most important ways.

On Sunday, May 9, 2021 Mother’s Day returns and we’ll be celebrating Nurses Week between Thursday, May 6 and Wednesday, May 12.

Rudyard Kipling wrote that “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” They, after all, have both nature and nurture covered—they care for and feed the DNA they gave us. So let’s remember to thank our mothers for answering the question the only way we can: It’s Nature and Nurture. Thanks, Moms.

Then, as Katy Perry once said, they gave the job to us to finish. “Find out what your gift is and nurture it yourself.”

And poet Maya Angelou once described the nurturing nature of the nursing profession this way: “As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the mind, soul, heart, and body of our patients, their families, and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

And one last word on nurturing: It’s simply what human’s do, mothers and fathers, friends and neighbors, healers, and nurses alike. Today, almost one-in-eight nurses are men and Father’s Day is coming on June 20.

Nature and Nurture, then, are all wrapped up together. It’s just who we are. No questions asked or needed.

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.