The business of growing up is something we normally think comes to a close when we get
to 16 or so – and finally turn into those fully finished products: adults. Up until
then, our growth is the subject of quite a lot of collective fascination. Twentieth-century
二十世纪的心理学以瑞士临床医生 Jean Piaget的研究为起点
psychology, beginning with the work of the Swiss clinician Jean Piaget, pioneered an
approach to child development that meticulously identified and labelled every principal stage
An average infant might go through on the developmental journey of its earliest years.
Thanks to this work, we now know that at six months, a child will be able to sit up on
its own, pick up a small object (such as a raisin) using a thumb and forefinger and recognise
its own image in a mirror, though it will most likely take another three months before
it can drink from a cup on its own and understand simple requests. By two, it will start to
他就会说”我” “你”这样的词 甚至还能自己戴帽子
say ‘I’ and ‘you’ and it will probably be able to put on a hat by itself. Around
四岁左右 他就能使用短句 创造出一个想象中的朋友
four, one can expect it to use sentences several words long and quite possibly invent an imaginary
friend (an achievement that belongs to what Piaget called the Symbolic Function Substage).
四岁到七岁时 孩子开始接受一些抽象的概念 例如时间
Between the ages of four and seven, children begin to grasp abstract concepts like ‘time’
和国家 同时在遇到”少于” “多于”这样的概念时还是会犯错是这一阶段的特性
and ‘a country’ but typically make mistakes around the use of ‘less than’ and ‘more
than’. Parents, uncles, aunts and grand-parents tend to be deeply interested in these developmental
milestones – which become the stuff of family legend. However, after about 16, the attention
society pays to the maturation of an individual becomes ever more coarsely grained. The focus
shifts to external, material matters: we track what someone gets in their university degree,
what job they secure and how they progress up the corporate hierarchy. Growing up becomes
关注点从成长变成成功 但事实上 我们一直不缺乏精神上的成长
synonymous with getting ahead. Yet, in truth, we never stop having opportunities to grow
in an emotional – rather than material or physical way. Perhaps between the ages of
19 and 21, without anyone really focusing on this happening, we may radically rethink
该怎么面对父母的缺点 23岁时 我们对嫉妒的看法变得截然不同
our view of how to handle our parents’ shortcomings. Or our view of envy takes a leap forward in
the middle of our 23rd year. Or, as we approach 33, lying in bed early one morning in a hotel,
we amend our sense of who is to blame in certain relationship difficulties. We may look more or
less the same, but inside, slow, unheralded moments of emotional growth can be going on.
Unfortunately, we have nothing like the clear, detailed stages to measure ourselves against
that babies and young children enjoy – and that might give us the encouragement we would
need to note and foster stages of growth. Yet, every adult life contains the potential
to acquire new emotional skills, each in its own way as significant as a child mastering a
就像小孩也会学说一些新奇的话(比如英语中的”I thought “而不是”I thinked “)
quirk of language (in English, for instance, saying ‘I thought rather than I thinked’)
or learning to ride a bicycle. To develop emotionally involves a range of steps: learning
to understand and sympathise with oneself; to take proper stock of one’s childhood
influences; to communicate flaws and eccentricities to others in good time, to interpret others
beyond what they have directly said to us, to recognise the hard edges of reality without
being destroyed by them, to accept one’s needs for consolation and assistance, to achieve
a necessary degree of confidence, to know how to despair without wholly giving up on
existence… We can imagine plotting the inner journey like islands, each one of them marked
by settlements, which we should take the trouble systematically to work our way around, as
we might the cities of Renaissance Italy, or the beauty spots on the Pacific Highway.
We’d tell our friends excitedly that we’d learnt about Emotional Translation or had
或有效沟通 当学会了痛并快乐着 我们可以开个派对
achieved excellent grades in Communication. We might throw a party when we’d learnt
how to do Cheerful Despair. Despite misleading external signs, we aren’t, in fact, ever
done with the tricky business of becoming that hugely important thing: an emotionally
mature person or, to put it another, simpler way, a real grown-up.
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