Three and a half years ago, my mother took a one-way flight to Heaven. After her departure, I began to think about the lessons she taught me. My mother was probably the quintessential extraordinaire when it came to the art of being polite, personable, and demonstrating the personal touch. Like many parents, she drummed into us the importance of saying “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome,” which was not unusual during the era in which I was raised. In addition, she went overboard with acknowledging people’s birthdays, anniversaries, and special events. When it came to her own children, she sent cards and gifts on other days as well, recognizing Valentine’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any other day that merited attention. God forbid if we did not reciprocate. People who were acquainted with my mother always appreciated her acknowledgment of their special day at even an older age when such notifications were almost null. Now my mother was a bit over the top when it came to such occasions, but I am most appreciative of her persistence about the importance of being polite, personable, and demonstrating the personal touch.
Behavioral scientists have long debated whether we are most impacted by nature or nurture. The argument is made up of professionals who believe we are products of our genetic makeup and those who believe we are molded by our environment. As a student of behavioral science, I find it impossible to imagine that we are not impacted both by our DNA as well as the world around us.