Early Childhood Images
By toddlerhood, they are meeting the larger society (children are making their way to
nursery school and Sunday school and so on) and developing relations with this larger
society that aren’t directly mediated by parents.
It’s at this age that children are acquiring a wide variety of images from family life, from
school life, from whatever religious life the family participates in, and these images
become the building blocks of the life-story they will build.
Later Childhood Images
By later childhood we’ve become good story-tellers, we’ve become good at story
“grammar”, so by the time children have reached elementary school, children are now
able to reason in logical terms. They know that there’s a beginning, a middle and an
end, and violations of these basic rules are detectable by children.
Stories are the “Tupperware” of human intentions – the natural container for a human
intention is a story, and you do not have stories without characters with intentions.
There’s a deep connection in the human mind between a story and intentions. (This is
also why the TAT is such a good method)
The characters in any story, according to McAdams, are striving for either something
agentic (separation & mastery) or something communal (union & solidarity).
Adolescence and Ideological Settings
During adolescence, the setting of the story is set. This setting of the life-story is
ideological, not geographical, and it’s by adolescence that we see people striving to
come to terms/figure out with what their ideological identities are. At this point they ask
questions of moral consequences *What is good? What is bad? What is true?*
An ideology – an internally consistent set of beliefs that convey what one values, what
one holds to be true and good.
The literature on ideology notes two directions that people tend to move towards or
move through: the ideology of justice (denoting agency) and the ideology of care
Ideologies of justice – concern belief systems that put a priority on human rights and
human freedoms, which pay homage to the agentic side of human nature.
Ideologies of care – concern belief systems that put a premium on responsibility, or
obligation/duties to other people, and they convey the communal side of human nature.
You can have a behaviour where you make every effort to integrate both agentic and
communion related. They are not opposites.