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The characteristics of an individual in physical appearance, personality, intellect, social behaviour and the like are influenced mainly by two factors, namely, heredity (nature) and environment (nurture). Heredity is today understood as the effect of the structure of the genes that we inherit from our parents which could be varied even among the children of the same parents. Environmental factors include the influence of upbringing by the parents, effect of siblings and other people with whom we grow up, religious and academic training as well as other socio-political forces that we are exposed to. I do not think there is much of a ‘debate’ today in this connection as the importance of both are widely recognised. I should however emphasise the importance of nurture, especially the role the parents have in the personality make-up of an individual. It is not what the parents try to teach that counts but their life-style, attitudes and mentality, all that the growing child sees in the parents. And there is nothing much we can do about heredity anyway.

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