Mr. Manuel Lopez, a retired eighty-year-old man who was formerly in the army is now living at Sanger, California. The jovial man hardly looks his age. His mind is fresh and appears to remember every step of his life He is the last-born in a family of five.
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At infancy, his father left for the United States in search for better livelihood Manuel remembers his father with a smile on his face, as he states, “He would send us money every time he had a job”. At the age of eight, when his father secured a reliable job, the family moved from Guadalajara, Mexico to Sanger, California.
The journey was challenging in a new environment with hostile tribes and local residents. Mr. Lopez shook his head as he remembered how his older brothers could protect their mother when men who would try to steal personal items from her attacked her. It seemed almost impossible to find Mr. Lopez’s father. However, after three weeks of traveling and searching, the family reunited again.
After the reunification of the family, numerous disasters attacked them. The greatest tragedy that Mr. Lopez experienced was the death of his most beloved brother, Julian. Mr. Lopez looked engrossed in his thoughts as he spoke of this brother. He explained how this deceased brother was his favorite member of the family. This brother always had time to talk and Mr. Lopez could talk about anything in his life.
Mr. Lopez’s mother was equally affected and sobbed for days without any comfort. She felt as if it was her fault travel during a sunny season that was more likely to dehydrate the children. She believed Julian had died of dehydration. The circumstances at the death of Julian could not allow the family to give him a decent burial, since they were traveling and hardly new anyone who could assist them.
Mr. Lopez along with other family members tried to dig a grave for their brother using tree branches, rocks and their hands. Despite Mr. Lopez’s time in the army since he was seventeen, he noted that the experience was horrific and unforgettable. When their father learned about the death of Julian, he could not believe it. Mr. Lopez’s father blamed their mother for the misfortune.
Despite efforts by other family members to convince their father that that was a mistaken assumption, he insisted on placing blame on Mr. Lopez’s mother. It was the start of a history of family disagreements. The father was determined to see Mr. Lopez get formal education. , After enrolling in school, financial challenges caused Mr. Lopez to leave school after only five months.
Since the age of nine, Mr. Lopez did not receive formal education until he joined the army at the age of seventeen.
Mr. Lopez started a stable relationship while in the army, with the woman he felt would become his wife. At a tender age, a committed relationship was difficult for Mr. Lopez and he preferred to date more than one woman progressively. One day at a local bakery, he met a woman who moved his heart and he fell in love with her. He looked forward to becoming her husband.
While he was serving in the army, this woman would regularly write to him and she patiently waited for him to finish boot camp. After his formal training, the young couple was in love, and decided to get married and start a family.
Mr. Lopez remembered promising himself that he would raise morally upright children who would not be ashamed of lacking good clothing, food, and housing, as he had during his childhood. He remembered that his father hardly bought him new clothes but he would wear clothing that he inherited from his older brother.
The first-born that Mr. Lopez was blessed with was a bouncing baby boy whom they named Julian after Mr. Lopez’s deceased brother. The young Julian grew up to be strong and closely resembled the dead uncle. Later, they were blessed with three daughters. In order to fulfill his dream of raising morally upright children, Mr. Lopez worked hard to provide food, clothing, and housing.
All the children were able to get quality college education and became employed in stable jobs, they are all doing well in their current lives and Mr. Lopez states, “I am a proud father of four and a grandfather of ten, and I lived my life well”.
Although Mr. Lopez hated the living situation at his own childhood home, he was able to learn from his personal challenges and his mother always held the attitude that everything in life is attainable if someone believes and works hard.
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This was evident within the family when the parents had to work in more than two jobs just to give the family basic amenities. When he was bringing up his own children, Mr. Lopez instilled the value of hard work and a positive attitude on what one is doing. The children adopted the value like fish and their natural dependence on water.
Mr. Lopez singles out serving in the military for approximately twenty-two years as the greatest achievement that he has ever attained. He also confidently notes that it gives him joy to have been married to his beautiful wife for over sixty years. He thanks God to have fulfilled his dreams of seeing his children and grand children live well.
The jovial man points out that the hardest moment that he suffered was when he lost his beloved brother during the journey to the United States. The loss happened after he suffered the departure of his father even before a father-son bond was well developed.
The old man who seemed to have lived his dreams, looks into the future with a smiling face, as he notes that he is looking forward to traveling to many countries and enjoying his retirement with his grandchildren. He states that he always has a great story to share with the grandchildren.
During the summer, they like to visit him and listen to his life experiences. Lopez values his health and sees a doctor every time he feels that he may not feel well. Although he is not as physically active as he was when he was stationed at the army base, Mr. Lopez likes walking for long distances.
Mr. Lopez advices young people, through his view that when one lives well in their current life; then a door of happiness is opened during their older years. He advises that although people have different cultures, the most vital thing is to respect the others’ way of life and to aim at living in harmony. He laments that despite modern globilisation, there are some elements of discrimination towards specific people, such as African Americans.
Bio-psych-soc analysis of Mr. Lopez life
An individual’s hereditary perspectives and their socialization skills shape their character. Childhood experiences have an influence on adolescence as well as in adulthood. Human behavior is a primary component of biological and socialization development. People are born with specific character traits that are dominant and are inherited within a family.
As one matures, an individual’s environment can help shape their character, attitude and personality. During human development, there are a number of identified stages that shape the direction of a person’s life. Mr. Lopez’s childhood shaped and defined some of his achievements.
There are some attributes that were instilled in his family than even at old age have a dominant effect on his life (Schriver, 2011; 23). This section will make use of pertinent theories to interpolate how human development affects his later life.
Erikson’s Developmental Stages
According to Erikson’s Developmental Stages theory, human beings undergo different stages in life. In every stage, there is the need for the child to become a morally upright child. During infancy, children need to have their emotional development shaped and focused by their parents. Emotions are cognitive traits, which involve the complex psycho-physiological experiences of an individual.
Emotions also define human feelings, attitudes, behaviors, and perception. Emotions are shaped by biochemical (internal/hereditary) and environmental (external/socialization) factors (Maybe you should include a specific text/citation). During the establishment of a single family, which is the noblest societal element, a child should develop a secure attachment to both parents.
It is the time to build trust and love for the child. In the case of Mr. Lopez, the father had to leave the family when he was a toddler, and it was the initial emotional strain that has been noted. When his father left, the child was not able to have proper emotional development with his primary father figure.
This can explain why he had difficulty developing relationships during his earlier years in the United States, since he hardly had a stable relationship. He felt that women were out to disappoint him and could not be trusted.
During childhood, when the child is expected to be bonding and developing relationships with his or her peers, the greatest tragedy happened to Mr. Lopez; the death of Julian, his beloved brother. Mr. Lopez noted that his brother had taken the responsibility of as a father figure and Mr. Lopez felt cared for and loved in the family.
Julian’s death resulted in emotional injury to Mr. Lopez. During the middle of his childhood, when other children were busy reading and building relationships, Mr. Lopez was working on the farm trying to make ends meet.
During this stage, he lacked interpersonal connections, the development of friendships, and less social interaction. This can be noted as the reason why in the interview, he never seemed to have value for other people he did not know, since he was more focused on what he has achieved.
During late adolescence, Mr. Lopez’s life took a different angle. Despite having being brought up in a family that made his psychological development unstable, he got a chance to enroll in the military. At this stage, a person is expected to be developing stable relationships and live in groups. In the army, he got the chance to co-exist with a group of soldiers where life was more bearable.
According to army regulations, one’s life is dictated to following superiors’ orders. Human beings develop mode of behavior from factors arising from socialization right from childhood adulthood; the nature of leadership and experience at military camps led to Lopez behavior modification.
This is when someone is able to take control of his life and change his life for the better. It is in this stage that Mr. Lopez realized he had been lost while dating a number of women, so he decided to concentrate on one woman (Robertson, 2010; 34).
Human values, beliefs and morals are largely influenced by society, culture, and hereditary factors. Societies have different mechanisms that are geared to re-enforcing certain behavior that is deemed acceptable. When Julian died, the culture of the family was revealed, and they believed that someone had to be given a decent burial. Later on, Mr. Lopez names his first child after the late brother that show affection and love.
However, as human beings interact with each other and change their lifestyle, they can also be compelled to change their mode of belief through behavior modification, which in most cases conflicts with previously instilled values. There was cultural value that Mr. Lopez placed on the son by using his brother’s name shows how gender differences have been developed in the community.
The boy child is seen to be the future caretaker of the family, through the way Mr. Lopez’s father acted and how they saw the boy as the breadwinner. Being a man or a woman is not wholly defined by biological aspects of an individual but goes further to include social, economical, political, culturally and other social aspects. Social aspects define the idea that sex is given biologically but its roles and expectation, which are seen to be different.
This has been agreed by psychologists, sociologists its and political scientists. Femininity and masculinity are socially and historically constructed; these aspects define the characters and life either female or male has to play in the society. The society of Lopez reinforced the differences and masculinity was seen to be more prestigious.
According to Erikson’s Developmental Stages theory, the age of Lopez is the time of reflection; this is where someone is willing to discuss his achievements and failures in life. It is the ages when someone accepts life the way it has been and is willing to advice and offer an insight about what he feel about his life.
When Lopez was being interviewed, he was jovial and willing to offer information, and he could lighten up when discussing his success. He could also talk in a cautious tone when he speaking of an experience that made him or others suffers. This is the stage that one seems to be more willing to look for peace and love with the universe. He does not want to hurt and also deals with health issues occasionally.
At this stage, one does not have the time to evaluate what other people did to him that might have caused him any problems but reflects on how he has changed other people’s life for the better (Fabes, 2003; 123).
Peck’s Theory of Psychological Development
According to Peck’s Theory of Psychological Development a person’s experiences during middle adult hood has an influence on his later life. The theory bring about four main areas that need to be developed, and young adults need to have health socializing than sexualizing in human relationship. (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2004;56)
When Lopez got into the army, his perception of women changed, he valued them and decided to have one woman as the sole lover. Despite the change, the family had initiated the role that men has to play in a relationship, they were supposed to take care of their families and incase the wife was to work it should be to support the man.
The value and direction of how love grows is seen when Lopez met his wife at a bakery, when he states that he felt he would like to marry her. The feeling that he got is what he developed and ended up having her as the beloved wife. When looking at the woman, other than when he was dating a chain of women, he saw the potential of a wife and eventually a family came out of the situation.
This perception goes in line with what Peck’s Theory of Psychological Development states that for one to have a healthy and good old age, he must have socialized effectively (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2004). Knowing one’s roles in a family is also brought out.
According to Peck’s Theory of Psychological Development, at young adulthood, people should be valuing wisdom instead of physical power. From the way he was brought up, Lopez refused to raise his children in the same way he was brought up. He was wise enough to note that he had the role of breaking the poverty chain that seemed to have lasted in their family, and this was through hard work and bringing up his children well.
This required more wisdom than power since his parents could work multiple jobs but yet they hardly could provide for the family. At his old age, he reflects and sees the success he has attained and praises his efforts and wisdom.
The theory states that at the stage of young adulthood, a person needs to have the ability of emotional flexibility (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2004). This can be seen in Mr. Lopez’s life when he was able to single out the woman he loved and concentrated on her alone. He may have been emotionally attached to other women but when he met this future wife to be, his emotions were flexible enough to date and keep her.
When he got his first child, Lopez was able to transfer his emotional attachment form his dead brother to the newborn and his family. The result was a man who now at the age of eighty sits and smiles on what he has achieved in life. He has been able to develop morally upright children and offered them the best he could attain in life. At young adulthood life, a person is needed to have mental flexibility instead of having a rigid mind.
With Mr. Lopez, he did not blame his parents for the misfortunes he might be going through in life, and he did not allow his mind to be cheated. However, he looked life through positive eyes and endeavored to offer the best to his children.
Both supporters of nature theory and empiricism theory agree that nature and nurture shapes human behavior, the contentious issue is which of the two is most dominant, from what can be seen in Mr. Lopez’s life, realizing when someone is crucial assists in making the right decisions about one’s life (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2004).
Fowler’s Theory of Faith Development
The theory defines the ultimate or most profound basis of beliefs that have been shaped during one’s life. As someone grows, there are some traits, beliefs, attitudes and developed values, which can be seen in someone’s personality.
Personality is used to refer to a long lasting pattern of behavior that an individual portrays. One’s personality can address the following questions or situations: Why are some people too terrified of talking in the public when others enjoy it? Why do some people become involved in dangerous activities when others do not?
Why do people react differently when faced by unique conditions? The answer to such questions determines the character that someone has that is different from the others.
In the case of Mr. Lopez, he was brought up in poverty and hard work, commitment and family unity were valued. Although the family did not encourage the best from their children, there are reasons that reinforce positive attributes in Mr. Lopez. Through observation and what his mother kept advising, the value of hard work was instilled in Mr. Lopez. It is through the hard work that he achieved greatness in life.
A person’s personality is the sum of hereditary (biological) factors and socialization attributes. When a child is born, there are some traits, which he or she gets from the parent. They are mostly emotional tone traits. The environment the child is brought up in shapes belief, attitudes, behavior and perception, which is done through socialization.
There are times that a person may deviate from expected behavior. He starts portraying pervasive chronic psychological disturbances and his life is affected by the disturbances. In such a case, the person is said to be suffering from personality disorder, and this could have occurred in Mr. Lopez after losing his brother (Robbins, Chatterjee & Canda, 2006).
However, instead of allowing it to bring him down, it was a source of inspiration, the tragedies that befell the family in search for their dad portrays how the family was valued (Robbins, Chatterjee & Canda, 2006;23).
David Levinson developmental stages in adulthood
The theory is of the opinion that when a person is ideally brought up, then between the ages of zero years and twenty, he should be under the care of guidance parent or guardian. This does not mean that he is depending primarily on them but they should be there to offer guidance and help shape his life(Canda, Chatterjee & Robbins, 2006).
According to the theory of human behavior, human behavior is shaped by socialization that a person has undergone (Canda, Chatterjee & Robbins, 2006). The choice of one’s actions, attitudes, perception and personality are shaped by the socialization that starts before a child’s birth and is unending. At birth, a child is seen as innocent.
Mentors, peers and the environment around him or her shape the character and attitude he or she develops. Supporters of this theory do not discount that hereditary factors affect human behavior but are of the opinion that they do not matter.
Their influence is only that a person has to be born with some attributes that are reshaped and changed by the environment they are brought up. They are of the opinion that environmental factors are responsible for human behavior. For example, no man was born a criminal but the criminality in him or her was developed through the process of socialization.
Between the ages of zero until twelve years, a person should be developing his life skills and widening his intelligence in the preparation for their future life. In the case of Mr. Lopez, this was the time that his family had strong issues, so he never got the chance to go to a school. He worked in the farm when his peers were attending school and enriching their academic well-being.
The effect that was brought up in the life of Lopez is that of a person who became bitter with life and looked forward to developing the life that he would value. The many problems and the way he lived without getting the right basic human needs motivated him to bring up children who got all they wanted, and he stated he looked forward to be a better father.
At young adulthood, which is past seventeen years, the theory observes that a person is open to outside influences through mentors and shaped by ones dreams and passion. During this age, Mr. Lopez was in the military. The military is an institution of discipline and they demand that one has to get guidance for their own life.
The role that a soldier is expected to play after deployment also called for someone who can pioneer his own life to a desired destiny. It was at this time with such guidance that Mr. Lopez was able to have a stable relationship. With the drive and passion that he had in raising children better than the way he was brought up, the old man had to work hard and keep with the needs of the military force.
At old age, as suggested by the theory, Lopez has no worries from life, he looks forward to traveling, and he looks back at his efforts and is happy for what he has attained. He is seen as a man who has no bitterness in life and accepts situations as they come (Canda, Chatterjee & Robbins, 2006; 45).
The theory rests in the works of Sigmund Freud. It theorizes that a human being is made up of inborn traits and experiences that the person has had in early times. When a child is born, some aspects are inherited from the parents. These attributes affect the child at an early stage and later in life, while some characteristics lead to development of certain traits in future.
For example, how one looks like is inherent from parents but will have an effect on one’s self esteem at different levels in different stages in life. In the case of Mr. Lopez, he had little time with his father at infancy, so he thus had to emotionally connect with Julian who died along the way to the states, and the traumatizing effect has been seen in Mr. Lopez’s life as he remembers his brother.
When Mr. Lopez was bringing up his children, he had the passion and dedication to shape their lives in a different pathway and offer them the best. The success of this decision can be seen in Mr. Lopez’s current happiness. He is emotionally connected with his children and his passion to live longer can be attributed to this relationship.
Symbolic and Functionalism theory
Symbolic theory states that after birth, a child is introduced to a family setting; this is where the child gets the initial socialization and life lessons starts (Berzoff, Melano & Hertz, 2008;67). It is through the family that children learn values, adapt to certain norms, have ideologies and get a sense of belonging. In the Lopez family, the value of hard work and determination was highly valued and developed.
According to symbolic theory, people perform certain duties from the feeling they have towards others. It is within the family, which is considered a social institution that children learn to listen and respect adults, parents and values other people’s opinions.
The sense of identity and belonging comes into being as the child gets emotional and psychological development. The reinforcements that are both negative and positive at this stage affect the later life of the child.
According to functionalism theory, the family is seen as the noblest unit of a society where norms and values are learned, and it develops a collective conscience among its members.
Differences in gender and roles are divided in the family and the child gets to use the pathway that seems to be most preferred by the parents and the society. All along Mr. Lopez believed men had the role of taking care of the family, they had to work for the good of the family and were needed to go an extra mile for the family (Berzoff, Melano & Hertz, 2008).
Personal observation and recommendations
The character, attitude, behavior, and personality that an adult have are shaped from childhood all throughout to old age, by inborn traits and socialization attributes. To have a morally upright society, parents should ensure that they create an environment that allows for proper emotional, psychological, and social development.
The family is the simplest unit of a society that should be source of love, inspiration, trust and affection. Parents should create such an environment. They should guide and nurture their children for their good and the good of the society. Creating a good environment means training a child with the right values, attitude, and perception like respect for others, and self drive.
After the attributes have been instilled in the child, the next important phase in adolescence is to ensure that the external environment does not distort the values. The parent should always be there to meet adolescent’s worries and explain the matters that may bring controversy in the child.
During late adolescence and early adulthood, people should get mentors to assist then forge and identity in life effectively. The mentor should be given the role of shaping the young adult is life and create good relationships that can allow sharing of experiences and problem solving. Young adults should not shy away from sharing their feelings and what they think about a situation. This will help to build a morally upright society.
Structure developed by communities, government, and international communities should offer an environment where the youth can learn good morals, ethics, and values. On the other hand, they should have punishments for deviant people. When every stakeholder performs his role effectively, then people are likely to look back at their life in old age and be filled with joy from what they have attained.
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Canda, E., Chatterjee, P.,& Robbins, S. (2006). Contemporary Human Behavior Theory: A Critical Perspective for Social Work. New York: Pearson Education, Inc.
Fabes, R. (2003). Emotions and the Family. New York: Routledge.
Robbins, S.P., Chatterjee, P., & Canda, E.R. (2006). Contemporary human behavior theory: A critical perspective for social work. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Robertson, D.(2010). The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy: Stoicism as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy. London: Karnac, 2010..
Schriver, J. (2011). Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Shifting Paradigms in Essential Knowledge for Social Work Practice. Boston: Pearson.
Zastrow, C.H. & Kirst-Ashman, K.K. (2004). Understanding human behavior and the social environment. Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning, Inc.