Hereditary Characteristics — Good and Bad

What Was In That Blood, Anyway?

By Jeff Salter

This week, we’re blogging about the hereditary characteristics we recognize… and whether we like them (or not). Hmmm. I don’t think about hereditary traits all that much. These days there seems to be so much debate about DNA versus environmental influences… that I guess I’ve lost the ability to isolate which teeny-tiny threads of me – Jeff – come from blood, observed behavior, environment, or my own experiences.

And since I’m no scientist, I’m just guessing at which ingredients come from what source(s). In fact, there’s a lot of mystery in this entire business. For example: I was at a men’s event sponsored by our church in Louisiana years ago when the subject of parenting was being discussed. One guy stood up, announced (to those of us who did not know him) that he had two kids — one of whom has turned out just fine and the other who’s turned out rotten. Then he said (I’m paraphrasing): “we gave them the same love and attention, the same house and clothes and food, and the same opportunities. Parenting only goes so far… and then sometimes kids just make rotten decisions.”

I say that mainly to say this: how we turn out depends on a lot of factors, including the experiences we face and the decisions we make.


And, with that scholarly preface, let me see if I can collect my thoughts about the actual topic.

I think my hair came from Mom’s side, since Dad was already significantly balding during his college years. My blue eyes must have come from Mom, but in my later years they’ve turned more grey like Dad’s were. People have said I have good shoulders — and they were definitely from Mom’s side.

My crooked spine – scoliosis – (if it’s hereditary, as I believe) came from Dad. My general health likely comes from Mom, but my stomach issues mirror some of Dad’s.


My creativity – or at least my expressions of it – seems to be a trait from a writing Father… but my appreciation for music almost certainly comes from music-major Mother.

In school, I was a natural at arithmetic and math… and this certainly comes from Dad (who could “cipher” in his head).

Not sure who to blame for my impatience and stubbornness — those may well come from both lines. In those circumstances when I exhibit a big heart… I’m pretty sure it comes from Dad.

My politics are my own — since Dad was a liberal Democrat and Mom is a conservative Republican.

My desire and tendency to be a peacemaker and compromiser – and to avoid conflict – comes from neither Dad nor Mom — so it most likely results from being a middle child.

So are all these (above) the type characteristics one inherits? Or do some come from environment and experience?


Any particular trait that you inherited? Which side of the family did it come from?

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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8 Responses to Hereditary Characteristics — Good and Bad

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    It’s the old nature vs. nurture argument. I could say I inherited my work ethic from my parents, but then it could also be the fact that their expectations were high for my brothers and me and encouraged by creating an environment in which I could complete my homework and other commitments (practicing instruments, attending rehearsals, etc) without interruptions. I remember my dad was good at ciphering in his head, too. I could do it, but it took me a lot longer. It’s been fun digging up these memories of him, especially on the week after Father’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      on our family trips (when I was a kid), I’d often sit up front and act as navigator while my dad drove. It was quite common for us to plot out stops with this method: me holding the map and reading out the little numbers (of miles) between the little towns, Dad would total them in his head and then decide which little town to aim at for a restroom or for a meal.
      Usually it would be a restroom and stretch stop, because our mid-day meal was often created (and consumed) in the rolling vehicle — and was often a cold SPAM sandwich.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Patricia Kiyono says:

        Your family trips sound a like like ours! Except I had to navigate from the back seat, because mom and baby brother always sat in the front. My brothers didn’t always get along with each other.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. jbrayweber says:

    I absolutely believe there can be something within people that are raised with the same love and attention come out completely different. I’m one half of that equation and so is my husband.

    For me, I got my hair, eyes, loyalty, impatience, hot temper, wit, love for outdoors, and overall coolness from my dad. Sadly, I did not get the ability to do any sort of math from him. I suck at math, he’s an engineer.

    From my mom, I got her curves, hands, creativity, intelligence, morals, and empathy. I’m quite happy with that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I seemed to get a lot of health issues from my dad’s side of the family, in fact the auto immune disease I was just diagnosed with came from my paternal grandmother, her daughter (my aunt) had it as well. A few of us cousins have it now. At least we know what each other is going through.

    That’s cool that your dad could cipher in his head. My eight year old seems to be heading in the direction. He figures our change that’s due before the cash register does, once the cash register was wrong. The cashiers are always shocked that he can do that so quickly and accurately.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      I used to always count my change. Occasionally, I’d catch a mistake. Sometimes the mistake shorted the clerk (rather than me) and I’ve always called their attention to it.
      These days, however, I use cash so seldom in the marketplace… I’ve gotten out of the habit of even checking the coins.


  4. I really don’t think they can count some things are environment,or learned. My husband has a habit, (which is hardly seen anymore), of being intently thinking, crossing his arms and moving his fingers. His mother always said that her brother had the same habit, but he was a casualty in the Korean war two years before my husband was born.
    Some years ago I went to a friend’s house to see her mother who had come back into town. She had brought one of the frien’d younger sisters, whom I had not met.I knew her immediately, for not only did she resemble the friend greatly,unlike the other sister and brothers I knew, but also, unlike the other sister and brothers, her speech patterns and habits were just like my friend’s. When I mentioned this to the friend, she said that she could not imagine, as the sister had been very young when the friend went off to college, and she never returned home,(she was introduced to a man by mutual friends in the college town , married him and stayed.


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