We can’t of course. It’s time scale is so different to ours that we would have to invest a large proportion of our own existence to see the subtle changes time shows in the newly budding acorn. Where we able to do so, we would see it grow in its unique and programmed way, influenced in part by where the seed has fallen, but largely by the genetic blue print stored in its DNA.
No one would say of the young tree, “Little oaks should be seen and not heard”, or “you can’t greet the dawn until you’ve washed your leaves properly.” Once the seed hits the ground it’s on its own and must survive its fate as nature allows.
No one ever asks their children what they thought of the way you bought them up in case you’re arrested under the Failure to buy Sweets and Toys Act 1837 , but the question of nature versus nurture continues to intrigue me. Like us all I wonder what the purpose of life is, or whether there is any purpose .
With children things are somewhat different. A lady we met was talking about the way her mother used to dress her before she went out to play with the other children. The dress sounded so formal that I thought to myself that she could hardly roll around on the ground, climb trees or just let herself go in the normal innocent unselfconcious manner we associate with childhood. She seemed more than a child: she was also on display and a comparison point for her mother with regard to the other mothers and the passing judgement of strangers.
It is important for children to learn to mix well in a social setting but also to discover something about their strengths and what opportunities they may offer them or so it seems to me. The Albanian, I know, withholds the choicer cuts of goat from his offspring unless they tidy their tents in the prescribed manner. Whats interesting is that we keep arguing with ourselves and each other through aeons of time on the best way forward, no doubt starting with discussions over the suitable bedtime for toddlers around some forgotten fire in the cave dwellings of Mongolia