. . . According to Erikson, each stage has a development task and a person should resolve this task before he can move forward to a next phase . . .
Alexander writes: “Consider the case of a young couple and their new born child. The child “depends" on the parents to give the care and love that is required to resolve the conflict of trust that goes with infancy. But simultaneously, the child gives the parents the experience of raising and bearing, which helps them to meet their conflict of generativity, unique to adulthood. "
This is why Alexander - an Architect - uses this theory of Erikson to establish his community pattern. A community pattern is to solve a community problem; “make sure that the full cycle of life is represented and balance in a community. " Because people will (have to) meet the conflict of their stage when they are confronted with people of other stages . . . “Babies control and bring up their parents, as much as parents bring up their children. " If different groups of people live in isolated communities - the retirement villages, teenage cultures, college towns, they will not be able to meet the conflicts of their stage. The conflicts between children and infants, or between adolescents and adults.
Changes in life become apparent when we can look back, or to others and notice that we have been there, dealing with similar issues. And realizing that now we have different issues to confront, part of the stage we are in.
But we are not always able to shut the door behind us. Alexander pictures a sixty-year-old woman wearing bright red lipstick on her wrinkles, they cling ferociously to what they never fully had.
Check for yourself how you have solved the challenges in the different stages of your life. Look back and see how you have grown up. And compare this with other changes in your life, or at work. And ask yourself - have I solved the problems that are part of this transition, or am I still struggling with the demands from the old situation and not able to dedicate my time and life on the new challenges? We see this often in business - for example the manager that is still managing like a specialist, because that is where his growth stopped. He is not able to fulfill the change from one stage to the other.
And this is what happened to the couple that visits the marriage counselor. Although they had become parents they were still struggling with problems from previous stages. And therefore not being able to manage their marriage . . .
© 2006 Hans Bool
Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management tools. Have a look at some of our free management tools