By Katie Moosbrugger

I barely remember this, but my mom swears it happened. After my daughter, Emily, was delivered and I was taken into the recovery room late at night, it was a couple of hours before my mom was allowed to come in to see Emily and me. She remembers walking over, leaning down, putting her arms around me, giving me a kiss, and saying, “Your daughter is beautiful.” And in what was supposed to be a treasured mother/daughter moment – I quickly blurted out, “I just hope she is better behaved than I was in high school!”

Yep, I was not the ideal daughter in high school. I wasn’t horrible, but if my teen genes are infused in Emily, I have another thing coming. And while it’s too early to tell if she has any of my class clown qualities, I often wonder where my little apple will roll once she leaves my tree.

I know you see it all the time because I do. Highly successful parents breed highly successful children. Athletic kids are often raised by jocks. The “popular” kids in school usually have parents who come from similar cliques, while it’s no surprise to see the shy kids cling to an equally introverted parent.

Does DNA affect where the apple lands and rolls, or is there more to it?

This can be a whole nature vs. nurture debate. I have great parents who raised me well, but there were definitely times I allowed my peers to influence the choices I made. I always remember my mom saying, “You lose your baby when she enters school.” It’s so true. No matter how well we steer our children in one direction, there will always be outside influences (societal, economic, religious, etc) steering them in other directions.

Or what about birth order – could that help determine where your apple falls? I definitely find truth in this theory. I am the youngest of two. While I like to think I’ve done OK, my brother has always been top of his class and peak of his career. Growing up, he was often called “Alex P. Keaton” and I was “Mallory.”  He rarely got in trouble (or caught, shall I say), while I was constantly finding myself in double-secret-probation. So for us apples, I think my brother fell pretty close to my dad (who is also successful and the oldest of two) and I fell closer to my mom (she was a little social butterfly like me and also the middle child). As for my daughter, I am hoping she follows the first-born theory and falls far from my party-girl tree.

So what do you think? When the apple falls from the tree, do you think it’s predetermined where it will land – or do you think it’s left up to influences (both from parents and society) or to birth order as to where it’ll roll?