Do we have free will? Well, I personally believe so. We have mapped the human genome, and they don’t seem to have found a gene for free will, but, there are many things that point to the idea that each of us, in spite or because of our genetic make up, can make choices as to how we will respond to life’s stimuli.
There always seem to be those who would love to tell us that we are just chemicals reacting to what the world delivers at our doorstep. Yet, looking at life in intensely disturbing reality will show us that this is not necessarily true. One sibling with a similar genetic make-up to the other will struggle against the tide and surface far from muck and gore, while another from the same family will sink into the mire of a life underscored by suffering and sorrow. Why? We don’t really know. It is most certainly NOT just genetics.
From my perspective, as a mystic and student of the cosmos, I think of it as the “medicine” each child was born with, though that entails not just genetics, but past lives, and ancestral contributors to one’s make-up. There is one other contributor to character that may or may not be counted by the “experts”. The person that child adheres to as a role model may make all the difference in the world. If one thinks in terms of the difference between a “Hannibal Lechter” type or a “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” type the two paths in life are so obvious as to be painful. But children in their first 7 years of developement are often not exposed to such archetypes, their world is much more tightly knit that this.
Aunt Jane, or Mama are their world, or Gramma, or Grampa or Dad or Uncle Joe. How we react to our world is how we teach the little ones to react, and it is often those we admire that our children admire or reject for just such similar reasons. Many times I have seen an incompatability in “medicines” be the means by which the “bad seed” develops into a rebel or delinquent. A child born with “mouse” medicine to a parent with hawk medicine may learn to hide from the eyes of their elders and becomes sneaky and untrusting and untrustworthy. Yet, mouse medicine is not bad medicine. If the child is guided by one with similar medicine, say a Mama with squirrel medicine, the child may prosper if only because they learn to prepare for what life brings them.
The “hawk” and “mouse” situation may turn abusive, simply because of frustration and fear of what will result when the child matures, yet the parent never meant to be abusive in the least, loving the child immensely. How tragic this whole scene becomes, most especially when it is from intense love that the results are far from ideal. There are no societal safe zones for either the parent or the child. Nothing “honorable” that will allow the parent to “back off” and let the child become themselves. Our family unit is now too small for the child to find an aunt or uncle who can understand, as the family is often scattered over 1000’s of miles.
I guess then, that I must conclude that though we do indeed have free will, and if the child can survive intact until their late thirties without having been in too much trouble with the law, they may get themselves straightened out, as it takes that long for us to become who we are, even when the parenting was compatible with our “medicines.” Even here, I believe we have free will, and if we have the internal strenth, we can become who we want to be no matter what our parents were or are, good or not so good. One most helpful thing to remember is that most parents truly do the best they can with the tools they are given to hand.