This research provides a biblical perspective on the life span, focusing on school-age children and adolescents. The plan of the research will be to set forth the context in which life span theory has influenced discourse of human development and then discuss Bible verses that speak to each of five special challenges of these stages of life.
Life span psychological theory has been described as a special category of human-development or cultural-psychology theory. A core concept is "the way cultural traditions and social practices regulate, express, transform, and permute the human psyche, resulting less in psychic unity for humankind than in ethnic divergences in mind, self, and emotion" (Shweder 1). Whereas much psychological theory focuses on the individual's "central processing mechanism" and its "fundamental division" from "context," or external environment (Shweder 5), human development begins with context. Goodnow, Miller, and Kessel (2) refer to "a unified view of development and culture as intertwined processes." Human cognition, learning, and selfhood interpenetrate one another and the culture in which they emerge: "you can't take the stuff out of the psyche and you can't take the psyche out of the stuff" (Shweder 22).
The lifespan approach to human development tracks continuous transformation based on response to unfolding experience. "Development through participation" (Goodnow, Miller, and Kessel 41) is consistent with the subjective experience of continuous identity that goes through "successive reorganizations" (43) that occur throughout the span of life. Such reorganization can also be seen as an exercise in telling (or revising) one's own life story, or narrative, based on learning and discovery that is not fixed but rather a function of challenges that the wash of experience gradually reveals.
Thus the Bible becomes relevant to this research, as the governing moral-ethical text of Western culture. The moral co...