First, let me give you the preliminary information. My parents are Jim and Charlea Cormode. Mom was born Charlea Ann Higley. They were both born at the Atchison Hospital, Atchison, Kansas during World War II, two years apart. Neither of my grandfathers served in the war, although most of my great-uncles did; my grandparents were all farmers; in addition my grandfather Cormode had had polio when he was 14. As a result he cannot use his left arm.
Both my parents came from pioneering stock which I'm sure affected my upbringing. The Higleys were in Kansas before the Civil War; John Brown is even related (he married a cousin), another cousin wrote "Home on the Range" (Brewster Higley - we sing that song at all our family reunions!). The Cormodes immigrated from the Isle of Man (located in the Irish Sea; Manxmen being therefore, half Celtic, half Viking) soon after the Civil War. I grew up hearing about my ancestors as well as more immediate stories of life on Kansas farms.
Mom and Dad grew up hearing about each other's family but didn't meet until high school. There are two high schools in Atchison County; they both went to Atchison County Community High School in Effingham, where my Grandma Cormode, all three of her sisters, and my dad's brother went. I carried on the tradition years later by doing my freshman year there. They dated during Dad's senior year and then he left for the University of Kansas. Ironically enough, my Grandpa Higley decided to move his family off the farm and into Lawrence, Kansas the same year. So my parents continued to date while Mom finished high school and started to University.
In 1966 James Roy Cormode took Charlea Ann Higley to be his lawfully wedded wife, and she did likewise (they usually do). That fall they decided to come to Ozark Bible College. In '69-'70 they decided to take an internship in Belgium. Dad wanted to explore the possibility of Christian radio in Europe. Before coming to Ozark he had been in a Broadcast Engineering program at KU. At that time he already had a burden in his heart for Europe. Previously, he had been in an Honor Physics program. In the early '60 the pursuit of physics required a knowledge of German. Dad struggled in that area. So he took advantage of his 4-H background and spent a year on International Farm Youth Exchange program in Germany. Mom recalls that he wrote home about how empty the churches in Germany were. Therefore, in the fall of 1969 they headed for northwest Belgium, a Dutch speaking region with some German influence. That next summer, at St. Jans Hospital in Genk, Limburg, Belgium, I was born. I took my first trans-atlantic flight at the ripe old age of 6 weeks, so my parents could be back in time for the fall semester at Ozark. I spent most of my first three years in the almost constant company of missionaries, preachers, theologians, Bible college students and interns. Mom jokes that she was born on a church pew. I may as well have been!
Erik Erikson's Eight Stages of Man:
I don't remember my first year, although I can tell you a lot about what went on that year; I've heard about it enough. I spent most of the year here in Joplin. Dad was a student and also teaching speech and very involved with KOBC. Mom worked, took care of me and attended some classes. She even took me to one of Brother Hunter's classes one time when she couldn't find a babysitter! At that point I was an only child, and an only grandchild (not to mention my grandmother's first girl). I suspect I was dotted upon. I don't have any reason to suspect I would have learned mistrust that year, although I'm told Mom didn't know how to feed me properly for the first two or three week (I was her first), but somehow I doubt that could leave a lasting impression on me.
Some of my first memories are from this year. I remember the two paintings over the stairs in the chapel (although the crucifixion is a little more set in my mind that the garden scene); I remember the huge windows in the cafeteria (viewed from the inside); I remember red plastic glasses with crushed ice in them, although I don't know where to place them; I remember the walls that hold upon the earth along E Street (because the houses are higher than street level); I remember the word "racountare", Italian for "to tell", probably from one of the songs sung by the group of interns that we took to Europe in '72, and Dad took again in '73 (Mom and I stayed behind that year because Mom was expecting Joel). Dad probably sung it to me after that time as well because I liked it. I remember Mom and Grandma making me a play house out of a large box and painting it green. This is my most vivid early memory, I even remember the grey patio stones. This must have taken place close to my third birthday.
There is a girl in my home church who is two years old. Mom says that she doesn't look like me, but she acts a lot like me. Kathleen is very sure of herself. She knows what she wants, she likes attention, and she is very happy child. She is quite taken by older kids and cats. If I was like that I'm sure I don't mind. Mom says I always wanted to do things my way and I always wanted to be in on what was going on. Mom says there was a time when Dad was preaching at a place with long curtains that I started walking up and down the outside aisle, hiding behind the curtains, not really watching anyone else, just enjoying myself (although it was distracting for Dad). I'm not sure whether to place that before or after my second birthday. That sounds pretty autonomous to me. Apparently everybody including Grandma and Grandpa Cormode's dog realized my need to do what I was capable of. Their dog was a big collie named Duke. I'm told I used to grab Duke by the fur and pull myself up, I would then attempt to place myself on Duke's back. Duke never snapped at me. He allowed me to tear at his fur until he was tired and then he simply walked off. Duke was a good dog.
When I was 2 years and 2 months old, Joel Rossel, my brother was born. Now I had a sibling. Great fun and competition. Mom tells me once she had just put gotten Joel to sleep (he was a rather fussy child; he had a heart murmur and a bronchial infection as a baby). I, however, wanted to play. She came into the room to find me in his crib, saying, "Wake up, baby! Wake up!" Grandma remembers on several occasions when she was rocking or holding Joel, I would insistently climb up in her lap; not pushing Joel away, just making sure I had my fair share of lap.
Luckily for me, I had parents who treated me more as a small person than a baby. They let me think for myself and do things, for the most part. Sometimes I was a bit too independent. I once caused my parents a lot of worry because I just left. They couldn't find me. I was two and I had been playing in the yard. At a moment when Mom wasn't looking I wandered down the street. I came to another yard which contained a swing and a little boy. Pretty soon this boy's mother came back outside and found me playing on the swing set, too. I was promptly returned home because I knew my Daddy's name and she looked it up in the phone book and called Mom.
Just after my third birthday we left Joplin and moved to Algonac, Michigan. My only real memories of the trip are playing among the stuff on the porch the day we loaded up the truck; and sitting in the cab of truck with Dad and Grandpa when we were turning a corner and looking back to see Mom and Joel in his car seat in the car behind us. However, I'm told I hated the move. I told Mom once we got to the parsonage in Algonac that I wanted to go sleep in my own room, meaning in Joplin. She explained that I had a room there, and I said I wanted the one in my other house. She explained that there was no furniture there, to which I am said to have replied, "I don't care! I'll sit on the floor!" I had a tremendous amount of initiative, but also a willful streak that was going to get me in trouble soon enough. By the end of this time period, I had two brothers to compete with. Daniel Roy was born in October, 1974; almost exactly two years after Joel. Daniel and I would come to share many personality traits. At the time he was one more baby to take my baby things. My parents have a home movie of me curling my then too big frame into the bassinet.
Since I was fortunate enough to have a summer birthday, I was always the perfect age for school. So in the fall of 1975, when I was five years old I started Kindergarten. I was definitely industrious. When my parents and I went for our pre-kindergarten interview, I was asked to draw a member of my family. I drew my Dad. I drew details that impressed my teacher like his glasses, belt buckle, the buttons on his shirt, shoe laces and birds in the sky. I loved to draw and paint almost as much as any other creative endeavour.
One negative note that stands out very clearly in my mind, however, is my mother's response to my fascination with dance. When I realized there was more available than copying the klopplen dancers I saw at Holland, Michigan, the cast of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers that I saw at Starlight Theater, and the people I saw on T.V., I asked if I could take ballet lessons. I was informed that "Dance is not something that is important in our lives." I was crushed. I resented that ultimatum and probably to my detriment often played those words over in my mind. Similarly, I was not allowed to take gymnastics or skating lessons, except what I got in gym class at school. I realize now that those things are expensive, but I was very hurt for a long time, especially when I had to take swimming every summer.
Three important events that took place in this time frame. My sister, Rachel Ann, was born. That meant I had to start sharing a room. Then, when she was two (on her birthday, in fact) we moved to Canada. Dad accepted the position as minister of the Westway Christian Church, although they asked him to leave a year later, so we had to move again. Third, I was moved into the Advancement Program in the Etobicoke schools. That meant that starting in grade three I was bused across town to be in class of bright kids. Those six years that I spent in the program left a lasting impression on me.
At Sunnylea, my industry was encouraged even more. They gave all kinds of interesting projects to work on with each unit and all the subjects were tied together; when we studied the Arctic in social studies, we read Julie of the Wolves in literature, learned about the tundra in science, had arctic related words in spelling, made mobiles of arctic animals in art and built an "igloo" in our reading corner.
My pre-teen, middle school years found me at Islington (Is-ling-ton, not I (s) ling-ton) Middle School, still in the advancement program. I tend to think of those three years, 11 - 13 as one unit, although I suppose I entered as a child and left as an adolescent. What started in grades 4 and 5 as just a gang of us that always played together at recess and lunch had become a full-blown clique by grade 8. Part of the reason I see these years as a unit is because of an elaborate game that we played. It was strongest in grades 5 - 7. It was more than playing "house" but not a role playing game in the sense of "Dungeons and Dragons" and such. I play it here under Identity vs. Role Confusion because of the assumed roles that we took on, I believe, helped us in the real identity shaping that was going on parallel to the game.
We called this elaborate make-believe "Planets". It really began in grade four, when Carolyn (my best friend) brought her sandwiches to school wrapped in blue plastic wrap. She folded the sandwich wrap into a little square and drew dots on it. She told us that this was her communicator. That she was really a spy sent to Earth by Capitan Shmoe of Shmoo. Very quickly, the far baseball diamond on the playground was dubbed Mars. Carolyn was the Matriarch of the Royal Family of Mars. Robyn was her daughter, I was her granddaughter. Other classmates were adopted into the family or else designated as ambassadors of other planets (except for Jennie, who wanted to be a "space gypsy"). We spent all of our time out at "Mars" except when a hopscotch tournament was deemed absolutely necessary for survival (a possibility in grade five).
When we left Sunnylea for Islington, we left Mars for Saturnia, our new name for the baseball diamond in the far corner of Islington's playground. By this time we where very well read and sythesised elements of The Chronicles of Narnia (Saturnia proved less than ideal so we immigrated to different corner of the playground and called it Narnia), Anne McCaffery's Dragon books, and Below the Root and And All Between into our game. Boys were introduced in the form of Karks (Graham, Matthew, David and Steven), our sworn enemies (in the game, our good friends in real life). We developed elaborate naming patterns, a body of literature, a style of dance and imaginary politics.
Sometimes I am surprised as the immensity of the game. I've met few people who understand or had similar experiences. By grade 8 we gradually lost interest in the game per se, but some of what had come to be traditions for us lingered on as we hung out in the same spot that year and contemplated our futures. Our favorite activities that year were "regressing at an incredible rate" (our term for it then). We invented a game called "Guard", the sole purpose of which was to provide an excuse for us to chase each other all around the playground. The fact was, we were going to be split up. Robyn's parents were making noises about moving to Vancouver. Freya's family was definitely moving to California. Carolyn and Melissa would not be staying in the Advancement Program, so they would be attending different High Schools. Rachel (Markowitz, not my sister) would be going to the Etobicoke School of the Arts. I would be leaving within a year to go with my family to Italy. What would we do without each other?
However, we really had no choice so grade eight graduation, 1984 meant goodbye. That summer I spent, as usual, in camp, and I mulled over something that had stayed with me after school was out. Carolyn was Baptist. For several years I had gone to Tuesday night Girl's Club with her (only years later would I realized that it was not a Baptist church we were at, but a Brethren church; Carolyn had been invited by someone else). We often had religious discussions; it was part of the roles we were assuming for ourselves. However, Carolyn had been baptized and I had not. I was now thirteen and it began to weigh heavily on my mind whether I could play the part of Christian and not take that step. I also began to think about dying. So, the day before my birthday I was baptized at Wolverine Christian Service Camp in Michigan.
The next day I spent my first birthday without any family members present as I prepared to head downstream on my first wilderness canoe trip.
I started High School in Effingham, Kansas while we lived with my grandparents and finished raising support to go to Italy. It was a traumatic year as I went through culture shock for the second time, this time coupled with otherwise normal adolescent confusion and a move from Advancement to regular school. I afraid I came out of it terribly insecure and yet conceited at the same time. I couldn't fit into their world (in their eyes); I decided I was far more cultured than they could ever hope to be.
My family left for Italy on Memorial Day. That was when we could get a cheap flight into Amsterdam, but it meant I couldn't go on the band trip to South Dakota (I played bells). Everyone told me Europe was far more exciting, but that was hardly the issue. I wasn't fitting in, again. I was unique alright, but I didn't like it. I clung to my memories of Islington, and wrote all my Toronto friends voraciously.
We arrived in Europe and I loved it. Oddly enough, I did not experience culture shock as badly in Europe as I had in Kansas. I think it is because I thought I knew Kansas when I didn't, but I knew I didn't know Europe. I loved the whole three years, three months we were there, except for school. Mom and Dad choose not to put us in Italian school so we were supposed to be taking correspondence courses. I hated it. I missed the social aspect of school. Therefore, when the US dollar fell and Dad got a job over the American Air Station so we could stay in Italy I began to spend a lot of time over there. I became very involved in Girl Scouts. To certain extent it replaced Islington, giving me a niche and role I felt comfortable with. As soon I could I talked Personnel into bending the rules and giving me a student job even though I wasn't a military dependent. I also became involved in Red Cross. Part of all this was a reaction to the rejection I felt from the missionary family we had gone to help. I was accepted fine by the Italians, but I wasn't Italian enough for the American family that had been in Italy for 15 years. This also set the stage for my behavior once I returned to Canada. I was insecure and I didn't have any clear idea about what I was going to do with my life which I covered by being involved in everything.
My transition into early adulthood is even less clear than my transition to adolescence. I turned 18 in Italy and finally got my driver's license (a rite of passage in North America that I had missed out on at 16, since European laws are different). In August we flew out of Frankfurt back to the US, just in time for my Aunt Marla's wedding (Aunt Marla is 16 years younger than Mom and only 10 years older than me). I was still sorting through identity and role issues, yet at the same time I was trying to deal with intimacy versus isolation. At times they became mixed up in one another. This began earlier while I was still technically a teen. I sometimes really wished that arranged marriages were still done, then I wouldn't have to worry about dating and all that mess. In this state of mind I was heading back to High School at age 18. Reverse culture shock didn't help my sense of isolation any either.
We got back to Canada and started school. Since I had done virtually nothing in Italy scholastically (those energies were all aimed at winning the Silver Pin in Girl Scouting), my guidance counsellor made me a deal; I would be placed in a grade 11 home form, taking grade 11 english. If I passed all eight of my classes, they would put it on my transcript as three years worth. I did. The next year I fast tracked, taking grades 12 and 13 together. Essentially I did five years of high school in four years over a six year period.
Life began to revolve around school as I attempted to make up for my "lost years" of high school culture. I felt very alone. Some of my old friends told me that they envied my experience and I'm sure they meant it, but I hated hearing it. I envied theirs. In retrospect it is not surprising that I got a boyfriend very quickly.
Adrian was in my chemistry class; he sat right in front of me. The second week I was there, he brought me a bracelet he had made. At that time, we did not have a house yet and so Joel and I were living with some friends from church who lived near Martingrove. Joel and I insisted on going to Martingrove. That is where we would have gone had we not gone to Italy. Joel had had a harder time of it than I, yet even I was longing to re-establish old ties. Adrian lived a couple blocks beyond the Stevensons. We began to walk home together. We basically dated just each other all winter and the next spring we decided to "go steady". By the end of the summer I wasn't so sure anymore, but I kept telling myself love is learned and you can learn to love anybody, so I stayed with the relationship even though I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with it. I figured I had to learn to be in a relationship. I tried to share my feelings and fears with some friends, but they were always asking, "What about Adrian?" until I couldn't stand it anymore. I felt increasingly isolated from everybody because of that. Next February, we broke up. It was a lot harder on him than me, although breaking up is hard for everyone involved. We had tickets to go to the Semi-Formal two days later. We went and it was torture.
That fall I started school at Ozark. It was the next natural step. I think I first decided to come to Ozark when I was in Kindergarten. It was where my parents had gone. I figured in a childish way that everybody did. Mom and Dad never pushed Ozark, although they did insist, and instill in us very early on, that one of Bible College was a necessity. So I arrived. Somehow I found myself with another boyfriend within two months. That became bad. I repeated all that I had been through mentally with Adrian, but added my stubborn pride which told everybody I hadn't come to Ozark for a husband. That was true. Unfortunately, that is what everybody sees at this school, which added unnecessary pressure. On top of that, the boy I ended up with was rather manipulative and knew how to play on my emotions just right to meet his emotional needs. Thus I tried to break up with him after two months; we ended up going out for eleven. It was a miserable time. I had some other problems at that time including a severe flare up of a phobia of mine. I really think that the two were tied together.
I have yet to reach the next two stages of Erikson's Stages of Development:
Middle age Generativity vs. stagnation
Old age Integrity vs. despair
Freud's Psychosexual Stages of Development:
I don't like Freud and I probably can't remember what went on in those stages anyway, so if no one minds, I'm going to skip him.
Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development:
This stage of Kohlberg's outline is probably what I was in for a long time. This is the childish mentality. In our house there were some very definite rules. Breach of the rules could result in variety of punishments, each designed to fit the crime. I got my fair share of them growing up, from not being allowing to watch a TV movie with the rest of the family, to being grounded, to being spanked.
I tried hard to obey, but as I have said, I was a very willful child and sometimes I either thought I knew better or chose to run the risk. Occasionally I'm sure I put more effort into cover up than simply following the rules would have required. I wasn't fully developed in this area. For a long time during my teen years I have problem with lying.
Fair play was stressed early on in school. Even before that the ideal of "being nice" to my brothers was in place. Growing up in a family of four kids taught me to barter early on. Sometimes I could get away with unbalanced deal, but one sibling always had two advocates he or she could call on. Of course, I had them, too, and made frequent use of them. We usually tried to settle things "out of court", because if Mom was involved the probable result would be either, "If you are going to fight over it, I'll take it and neither of you gets it", or "You just sit in that chair until . . . (you can apologize, talk nice, stop fighting, play fair, etc.)"
Fair exchanges I soon learned were essential to survival.
This is a stage that I have probably been stuck in the longest. Even when higher levels had been firmly established this is the one I fall back on in cases of grey areas, or where the choice is between options that meet other criterion. I realize that I don't have a lot of faith in myself and so I spend my time trying to please others. What is right is often what others think is right.
This is another that I learned early on. My first impression is that it was my duty as the minister's daughter to be in church every sunday. At that time I couldn't have identified the feeling as "duty", but I soon learned to call it that. From my parents I learned that I had a responsibility towards God. At school I learned duty to country. I started school in Michigan. There we began each day with the Pledge of Allegiance and singing "America". I turned six during the Bicentennial year and the scenes of the soldiers of 1776 and especially the fife and drum players had an emotional effect on me that translated itself into action as duty. We had a mock election which made me feel it was a duty to vote.
All this was a good start, but the idea of duty really hit home once we moved to Canada. There was a slightly British flavour to a lot of things that spoke without speaking directly of duty. We did not start the day with an pledge of allegiance, but we recited the Lord's Prayer and sang "O Canada". Canadian history introduced me to the United Empire Loyalists. Loyalty became part of the concept of duty. At the same time I was growing older and my parents were firm on the fact that I had duties to the family in the form of chores. I did not get a regular allowance. I was not being paid for chores, they were simply part of belonging to a family. I also had a duty as a student to do the best I could. Mom often told me that was my job.
Finally, when I joined Girl Scouts and took an oath confirming my duty to "God and my County" was the concept laid down in concrete verbal terms.
I became acquainted with this concept very young when someone gave Joel and I a comic book about Brother Andrew. At that point I merely felt that "enemies" laws were to be dismissed. I first began to really think through this question in Middle School. I became acquainted with the story of The Hiding Place and read The Diary of Anne Frank and I Am David. I thought about what I would do in a similar situation, if I were a Christian, like the Ten Booms, or if I were on the other side, a Jew. The law made it clear how Jews were to be treated, and yet it went against higher moral values. I realized law are made by men, and therefore subject to short comings. After all, that is why the Revolution that so affected me earlier had been fought, to get away from poor government. I gained a respect for good government, although it was some time before I came to fully appreciate what a sacred trust we put in law makers and leaders.
6 Following universal ethical principles, such as justice, reciprocity, equality, and respect for human life
Being raised in a Christian home this level of moral reasoning lay behind everything my parents sought to instill in me. However, I can't say when I really came to be guided by this. I'm still working on it. At first I followed ethical principles in order to avoid punishment, then I saw them as a duty, part of being a good girl, a good citizen, and a good Christian. Gradually I have been learning to act by them simply because they are better. They are a reflection of God. I can't say I am completely satisfied with such ideals in and of themselves. I try to be just and respectful in order to please God, although I know that that is not enough to redeem me. Still I have a desire to be the best I can be, because nothing else with worth the effort.
Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development:
Birth - 2 years
I would assume that I passed through this stage O.K. I seem to have no trouble recognizing objects, or walking or anything else today. My parents tell me I was a smart baby. They may be biased. Grandma tells of one time when we were at her house and the adults were eating ice cream. Dad was holding me on his lap as he ate. He was engaged in conversation, and consequently not paying very much attention to me. However, every time he raised his spoon I opened my mouth. My schema for spoons evidently included every spoon in front of my face entering my mouth. Oddly enough, I didn't make any noise about this, I just opened my mouth, apparently assuming that one of those times the spoon would make its way my direction.
At this age as part of development of thinking in symbols, I loved to play pretend and to dress up. One of my favorite dress up items was an old shirt of Dad's that Grandma had sewn a red cross on. On my small frame it worked wonderfully as a doctor's lab coat. Grandma also made me other costumes, my favorites being a ballerina dress (it was blue with silver ric-rac) and a bride's dress. We even have a home movie of me in a mock wedding (it's funny at the end because the groom, a.k.a. Joel, takes a nose dive into the nearest armchair when I offer to kiss him). I did accept my first proposition when I was five. I was a flower girl in a wedding and the ring bearer (who I called the ring bear and thought that was a stupid title) asked me if he could marry me when he turned nineteen (he was four). I said yes. At another time that same year I tied one of Mom's aprons over my head, the strings under my hair, informed Mom that I was a "sister" and knelt down under the dining room table to pray. I guess I had seen the nuns in The Sound of Music and was imitating them.
I learned to recognize a great many corporate symbols before I could read and was able to trick gullible college students into thinking I really could read "Toys R Us", "McDonalds", "Standard Oil" and many other signs. I was able to read and write my own name before I started kindergarten. They taught us to read that year and I loved it so much I asked if I could take the "Matt the Rat" books that I had not finished home over the summer before first grade (We were still in Michigan at that point, hence I say "first grade" and not "grade one"). I began writing stories as soon as I could write. Dad a stapler that he could make booklets with and I used to staple several sheets of paper together into a booklet and then write stories or transcribe Joel's. We still have one, "The Boy with a X for a ei" (I've been a lousy speller).
However, as is to expected I didn't always sound logical to adults. When I was two, I often asked if I could pray for the food. Once when we had guests over I included in my prayed "God take care of my little sister who went up in the sky". Our guest did not know how to respond, thinking there had been a death in the family. I was really praying for Heidi Allsbury who had left in an airplane. Why I called her "my little sister" I don't know, since she's older than me, but Mom says I always did.
In kindergarten I met my first best friend. That's when we became friends. We became best friends in second grade. Her name was DeeDee and from her I really believe I began to see things from another perspective. She was an Indian, her grandparents still lived on the Reserve across the St. Clair river from Algonac, in Canada. I began my Indian phase. I wished I had thick black hair like hers and I read all I could about Indians. We even made ourselves blood sisters (the best of our abilities, by pricking our thumbs). That scares me now, knowing what I do about AIDS and when it began to spread in the US, but I think we safe, considering our ages (not old enough to have contracted it through our mothers) and families (decent middle class).
I also had my first bad conflict with a school mate. I couldn't understand how Tina could be my friend at church and ignore me at school. Dad told me I had to be her friend no matter what and try to see things how she saw them.
Early in school I did well in math and phonics. I don't know what happened later, but math and spelling went out the window by grade four. I began my habit of voracious reading during this stage. Mom took us to the library every Saturday.
I still like to play pretend but my games got much more elaborate, my favorites being stranded on an island, being an Indian princess, or flying a space ship. I also loved puzzles of any kind, from jigsaws, to playing hide-and-seek. This was definitely part of learning concrete operations.
Over 11 years
I think I entered this stage when I was younger than eleven, perhaps when I was nine, impart because my environment encouraged me to. We have always, as long as I can remember, had important discussions around the dinner table. My parents encouraged me to think. At school I can remember doing science experiments where for the most part we followed instruction but were given problems to solve. I remember particularly experiments in solar cooking that we did. I remember Mr. Davernachuck (my teacher in grades three and four) reading us riddles and Two Minute Mysteries. This I would say was part of dealing with analogies. At home, we often had friends over on Sunday nights after church and I would sometimes be allowed to join in the games of "Clue" (my favorite) and "Monopoly". I was very much a daydreamer, even before Middle school and would often reflect on my daydreams, another part of this stage.
Fowler's Faith Development:
I can't really remember much of this stage of my faith development. I know I always knew about God, although when I was very little I thought of Him as an invisible person, about the same size as my Dad when I talked to Him, although He could grow if He wanted to.
I can't say when I entered this phase, but I do remember loving Bible stories and picturing them in my mind. I can remember being frustrated because we didn't know the tunes that the Psalms were written with. I really did take things literally, and not surprisingly the command to go an make disciples was especially so. I can remember taking my Bible to school in grade three so I could debate the historicity of the Flood on the school bus. Everyone knew I was Christian. We also talked about the Qu'ran on the bus, although I really didn't know what it was. I just knew that I was right and God would like that.
Carolyn (the Baptist) kept asking what religion I was and I told her Christian. That wasn't what she wanted and she didn't understand about independent New Testament churches. Neither did I. One day we got the almanac out and looked over the list of churches. We didn't know what "Orthodox" meant so we looked up. Near as I could tell it meant "normal", so I told her I was Orthodox.
I'm not sure when I moved from Mythical-Literal into this stage, but by Middle school I was in it. I grew up in a very multicultural classroom and came in contact with other ideologies early on and forced me to clarify what I knew about Christianity. My parents emphasized that being Christian affected everything you did and I took that to heart, often embarrassing Carolyn, who was more conservative, with my declarations of Christian principles in my school work, especially when were studying Evolution in grade seven.
Carolyn kept telling me I need to be baptized by the time I was twelve (because that's what the Baptist church did), but I wasn't sure. I saw baptism as an adult decision which I didn't feel ready for yet. I was baptized the day before I turned fourteen. I wore my favorite purple pants and Izod shirt. Everyone told me I was silly and I should just wear old clothes (I was baptized in a pond), but my reasoning was that Baptism was more important than marriage and I was planning on dressing up for my wedding so I was going to dress up, give my best to God, for my baptism. As rather childish conception I now think.
I think I have moved into this stage. I've spent quite a lot time considering the incredible majesty of God and struggling with my relationship to Him. I'm not sure I can treat Him like any other friend, like another human, which has ramifications on my worship and prayer life. I struggle with seeking to develop a closer relationship to him, and my devotions have a tendency to slip which ends up making me feel guilty.
Coming in greater contact with Islam has also made me reconsider what in the church is true faith and what is tradition.
I'm not sure I can write a conclusion to all this. There are things I have not covered that I'm sure have had an affect on me, but I wasn't sure where to fit them in. The prognosis for the future will have to include taking a hold of my own life, because despite my early moves towards independence, if find myself not bound by doubt. I guess I'm facing the intimacy vs. isolation stage of Erikson and that is occupying a lot of my thoughts, I fear losing. However, I am an optimist, so I know that the future is bright, if I can just decide what it is.
A Look at my Life through various Psychological Lenses
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