Our Vision of the Growth Path

What are the advantages of describing a growth path as moving from Adapted Child to a mature Adult state – in compari son to other, perhaps more familiar, ways of looking at change and growth? 

The first thing that comes to mind is that Adapted Child is synymous with the ways we learned to survive.   Survival is both a personal, individual issues and an issue for cultures and societies.  That is to say that individuals must learn how to adapt in order to survive in our families, culture and society.  At the same time, cultures and societies strive to survive in a world of inter-related, and sometimes competing, cultures and societies. 

The process of moving from and Adapted Child to a more mature Adult state both honors how we have learned to survive and exhorts us to move beyond our survival adaptations.  In order to function well in an increasingly relational and interdependent world, individuals, cultures and societies must be able to value both their own and others’ ways of being.  This is only possible when we can access the most mature, Adult capacities available to us as human beings. 

Thus, one of the advantages of describing a growth path in this way is that it enables us to see individual growth in the context of larger cultural and societal issues.

This is important because what we have classically and historically done for survival, both indivividually and culturally, now is destructive to the very  survival it was intended to ensure.  We now recognize that our old short-term survival strategies are most likely to lead to long-term extinction.  

Another advantage we see to this way of describing growth is that it combines a descriptive with a prescriptive ways of looking at this rich and complex subject.  More about this next time.

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