Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 3 October 2007

Incorporating Life Experience

I spent this past weekend as a volunteer staff member for an intensive workshop with at-risk teens.  It was a transformational experience and very relevant to my current study of Human Development.  The book I’m currently reading for my Human Development class is “Becoming Mature; Childhood Ghosts and Spirits in Adult Life” and last weekend I was able to observe first hand many examples of “ghosts” and “spirits” that will affect these children’s lives well into adulthood.  

The main theory of the book was developed by using a hermeneutic approach, through the examination diaries, interviews, and tape recorded conversations and related theoretical texts.  The theory identifies several key characteristics of “mature” parenting as well as aspects of “immature” parenting.

The kids at the workshop had experienced abuse, addiction, gang violence, and deep sadness in their very short lives.  Through very intense experiential work, these children were able to trust enough to open up and express their feelings.  By the end of the weekend, a miraculous transformation had taken place; kids had let go of some of the very heavy burdens (“ghosts”) they had been shouldering.  They were able to make positive declarations about themselves and to see a glimpse of their internal goodness.  I am so glad to have been a part of this process (BTW, there is follow up with weekly phone calls and another meeting in a month to reinforce the transformation).  Eventually, the parents will also have an opportunity to experience a similar process.

My desire is to see this type of program be implemented across the country.  There is so much violence, hate and fear just in the US.  Imagine the shift if even 10% of parents became mature through processes that transformed their childhood ghosts into spirits that lifted them to a new level of being.

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