Life experiences, challenges and accomplishments shape adult developments. These stages of developments are series of life events that will help adult to transition to the next stage. Some of the development crises are essential for growth and will enable adult to learn and adjust to their full potential. The film, “Follow Me Boys”, started in a bus where a group of travelling musicians found themselves in a crossroad of their young career. A mild mannered man, Lemuel, who dreams of being a lawyer, is faced with uncertainty of his future but still very upbeat and very expectant of finding an honest job.
This stage in adult development is critical because this is when the concept of age clock is practically used. The band members including Lemuel appear to look older at that stage of adult development. They all looked like in their early thirty’s and seem to be progressing through life rather slowly.
Almost at the end of the film, his adopted son, Whitey, who is a medical doctor in the Army and recently married, looked younger and vibrant and progressing through life rather quickly.
Edward “Whitey” White, Jr typifies a young developing adult in contrast to his adopted father, Lemuel, who appeared much older when he was at that stage, in transition and starting a family. These two characters in the film differ in their chronological age and psychological age at that point of their career. Lemuel showed his psychological age more matured by showing his resiliency and ability to adapt to social and environmental demands. Lemuel “Lem” Siddons is a person in midlife that is focused on the present while Edward “Whitey” White is a young person focused in the future.
Nevertheless, the textbook stated that it is difficult if not impossible to pinpoint stages of adult development solely on the basis age (Understanding Human Development, 2010). One of the most distinguished psychologists of the century, Bernice L. Neugarten is best known for her groundbreaking Adult Development 3 contributions to the study of adult development and aging; rely on the concept of age clock. Rather than a biological clock that determined aging, she theorized that there were social clocks, by which people judged whether they were on time or off time and adjusted their behavior accordingly (Neugarten & Neugarten, 1996).
Age clocks are form of internal timing that let us know if we are progressing through life too slowly or too quickly. It appears that Lemuel is in the normative event of his life and based on that 1930 cultural time frame. When the bus band’s reaches Hickory, a small town, Lemuel encounters unruly kids who are starting to vandalize their bus. A fellow band member tried to stop the unruly kids by fear and intimidation. Lemuel intervened and his actions showed a good example of Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory, who concluded that cognitive development developed in stages.
Kohlberg incorporated the ideas of Piaget into a sequence of developmental stages and described what he saw as “levels of moral advancement” throughout the human lifespan. According to Kohlberg, the first level of moral development is the Pre-Conventional level and under this level are two stages. The band member who tried to stop the unruly kids applied the stage known as the “obedience and punishment orientation”. This band member only concern is the consequences of what the kids would suffer if they engage in a certain behavior.
The kids ignored him and continued their unruly behavior until Lemuel offered the kids candies at the store. He caught the kids’ attention and left the bus and their equipment alone. Kohlberg’s second level of moral advancement known as conventional level is at display on this scene. The stage three under this level is known as the “interpersonal accord and conformity” stage. Lemuel sought conformity based on the standards of that little town, Hickory’s society and culture.
He immediately restored order from those unruly kids by being good or doing the right thing so as to fit in with Adult Development 4 the standard of Hickory’s society or culture. It is a small town and everybody knows everyone’s business especially if they do not conformed with the town’s standard. This is what happened to the town’s drunk, Whitey’s dad, who is excommunicated from the town’s society because of his non- conforming behavior. Another critical development of early adulthood is the decision to engage in a deeper and meaningful relationship and higher levels of intimacy.
Lemuel found his future wife in Vera Miles, a bank teller in that small town. He accidentally bumped into her when he caught a fly ball while the kids were playing baseball in the middle of the street. From that moment, Lemuel decided in his mind that Vera would be his romantic partner. He noticed her again at a civic meeting and could not help to notice her choices of activities that would keep the town’s boys off the street. He volunteered to become the Scout Master of a newly formed Boy Scouts Troop One in spite of being the newest resident of the town.
According to stimulus-value-role theory, couple formation takes place during three stages of courtship (Murstein, 1982, 1999). Mate selection is motivated by each partner’s attempt to get the best possible deal and to determine whether the relationship is worthwhile. During the stimulus stage, Lemuel made the initial judgment of Vera’s beauty. Vera is also aware of Lemuel’s pursuit of her by inviting her, initially, to attend the civic meeting. She was equally impressed when Lemuel volunteered to be the newest Scout Master of Troop One.
The first impression is mutually favorable for both of them that lead them, according to Murstein, to the second stage of courtship which is value-comparison. This second stage of courtship occurred when Lemuel was training the newly formed troop the discipline of marching. While on a weekend outing, Vera’s banker boss disrespected Lemuel and his troops by blowing his car’s horn and driving carelessly past them. Adult Development 5 Their car eventually broke down and Vera was left alone while the banker boss went to look for assistance.
Lemuel found Vera alone and helped her from being stranded in the middle of nowhere. He was also able to restart the car and impressed Vera so convincingly that she left her banker boss and went with him instead. The final stage of this mate selection is the role stage. This happened when Vera showed up with cooked meals for the boys. She did not know that Lemuel is conducting merit badges qualifications that include cooking, patching, tent building, etc. The scouts have to show proficiency for a particular skill to earn the right to wear the badge.
Unfortunately, cooking is the one qualification that they are having difficulty and they are getting frustrated and hungry. Vera innocently invited the boys with her cooked meal but Lemuel intervened because the merit badge requires the kids to cook their own meal. Lemuel set the boundaries quickly by letting Vera knows that the boys have to cook their own meal. Vera misinterprets this as egotistical in the part of Lemuel and started calling him as male chauvinist and master of the universe. Lemuel tried to calm Vera down and explain to her what they were doing but she would not listen.
She tried to get away from Lemuel but he would not let her. Vera found the canoe that is being repaired and used it to get away from Lemuel. They both end up in the middle of the lake in a sinking canoe. They end up soaked and sunk in the middle of the lake but surprisingly laughed in their childish behavior instead of getting madder with each other. This is the turning point in their young relationship when the true layers of their personalities came out in the open and they realized that they could functioned in compatible roles in a more serious relationship like marriage.
Marriage to be effective is to understand the strength and weakness of each other and to use those differences of temperaments as building blocks to make the marriage relationship even stronger. Adult Development 6 The excitement of marriage relationship begins for the Siddons as they prepare their home for themselves as husband and wife. Lemuel is scheduled the following week to take the bar exam but decided to delay it. He decided to put his career on hold to focus more on Vera and his commitment to Troop One as their Scout Master.
Lemuel exemplifies the “unconditional positive regard” of Carl Rogers who believed that individuals are motivated toward self-actualization and self-fulfillment and that the core of human nature consists of healthy and constructive impulses (C. Rogers, 1980). For Lemuel, the intrinsic factors of being a Scout Master and the quality time that he would spend with his new bride are far more rewarding for him than the extrinsic factor that a Lawyer’s income would give him. He won the heart of then troublemaker, Whitey, who matures into men.
Whitey has to take care of his alcoholic father and missed out all the normal things a young boy would do. But Lemuel warmly accepts the young troublemaker without imposing reservations or conditions. Just as a parent, love their child unconditionally regardless of their behavior. Whitey finally surrendered his rebellious behavior and joined Troop One, when, during a fight with one of the scout leader, Lemuel challenged Whitey to meet him just half way. Lem understood Whitey’s pain of losing his “youth” because he was like Whitey until a young lawyer mentored him and made him the man he is now.
According to Daniel Levinson, that there are three major eras in the adult male life cycle that each extends to roughly fifteen to twenty years. He believed that each era: early, middle, and late adulthood is a series of developmental tasks, such as finding a mate or selecting a career (Levinson, 1978, 1986). The person is able to develop a life structure: which is the overall pattern that underlies and unifies a person’s life (Understanding Human Development, 2010).
According to Levinson, a young man must master four developmental tasks: defining a dream, finding a mentor, developing career and establishing intimacy (Understanding Human Development, 2010). Lemuel did master all four developmental tasks and developed a life structure as Levinson discussed. He sacrificed his dream of being a lawyer to dedicate his life in mentoring young boys and in return he received a reward far greater than the degree of being a lawyer, the lives of young boys and the culture of the town, Hickory. The American culture of the modern day will not be as kind as the town of Hickory to Lemuel Siddons of the 1930’s.
The culture of today’s generation will demand Lemuel to be competitive and to excel in a chosen career requires unprecedented growth and knowledge. He has to learn to balance career and family. He has to be fluid in ever changing culture of the economy and community. It is unusual in today’s culture to see a family man to dedicate his whole life in a full time mentoring business. It is ideal but not in the real world. The absence of real vocation or occupation for Lemuel would be difficult for him to support himself and his wife once he reaches his retirement age.
The city recognized his unselfish devotion in mentoring the young boys that is why they gave him the Honorary Degree in Law. But the Honorary Degree would not define him because he did not live off it and did not practice it. Economic status is another major factor that affects a retiree’s adjustment to a new way of life. He must have enough retirement income to maintain his standard of living. A secure and comfortable retirement income is every worker’s dream. If Lemuel lives longer and maintain a healthy lifestyle, he can spend more time in retirement than any of his predecessors.
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