The “Nature vs Nurture” discussion has been around for years. Are children born a certain way? Or are they taught? It’s very much a case of what came first, the chicken or the egg.
I personally think it is a mixture of both.
I think children are born with positive and negative qualities built into their personalities. Every experience the live through either feed or starve those qualities. Ideally, we starve the negative qualities and feed the positive ones, but I think sometimes lines are blurred and that when they make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.
Now take a moment to think about what sort of qualities would develop in your child if they were to have an interaction – how ever long or short – with a child who is in foster care.
But let’s not take my word for it, let’s introduce Hazza.
Hazza is a normal 12-year-old. He loves riding his BMX bike, doesn’t like eating his vegetables and quite frequently you’ll find him gaming with his friends.
And part of Hazza’s normal is being part of a foster family. Because not only are his parents’ foster carers, but Hazza’s has grown up with his grandparents being foster carers as well as his Aunts and Uncles.
As someone who has had many interactions with Hazza, I can tell you that this kid is special. His attitude toward foster siblings is a simple one.
“Sometimes kids need a big brother, and I’m really good at being a big brother”.
And for Hazza it is as simple as that. He doesn’t look at it as being a foster brother, he’s just a big brother.
I’ve also discussed with Hazza about when foster children leave his home and again his answer astounds me.
“Sometimes we are lucky, some kids stay a part of our family forever. Sometimes kids leave, and we don’t get to see them again. I don’t get upset because I know that there are kids like me everywhere being great big bothers and sisters to those kids.
And then when I ask if him if he’ll be a foster carer, he gives me a look a surprise.
“Of course, if there is a kid who needs it. And obviously I’ll teach my kids to be a great foster brother or sister.
See for Hazza, it is a given. It would be more of a conscious decision to not become a foster parent than to become one.
Many people worry about the effect having foster children in their home will have on their biological children. And it is a valid concern to have. But I think with the proper guidance, supports and love, it would develop the most beautiful qualities.
It’s time to we stop focusing on the negative aspects and start considering the positive effects it could have on our children.
I’m not saying that you go out and become a foster carer and make you child a foster sibling today, but consider donating toys to wishing trees, encourage a playdate with a local foster child or just explain to your child what foster care without negative bias.
Education and exposure could uncover the most beautiful compassionate quality in your child. And that compassionate quality will bless them more in life than hinder them.