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On the basis of a theologically grounded understanding of the nature of persons and the self, Jack O. Balswick, Pamela Ebstyne King and Kevin S. Reimer present a model of human development that ranges across all of life's stages: infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle adulthood, elder adulthood. They do this by drawing on a biblical model of relationality, where the created goal or purpose of human development is to become a reciprocating self—fully and securely related to others and to God.
Along the way, they provide a context for understanding individual development issues—concerns, tensions, worries or crises encountered by the self in the context of change. Awareness of these issues is most pronounced at developmental transitional points: learning to talk and walk, beginning to eat unassisted, going to school, developing secondary sexual physical features, leaving home, obtaining full-time employment, becoming engaged and then married, having a child for the first time, parenting an adolescent, watching children move away from home, retiring, experiencing decline in physical and mental health, and, finally, facing imminent death.
Throughout, Balswick, King and Reimer contend that, since God has created human beings for relationship, to be a self in reciprocating relationships is of major importance in negotiating these developmental issues.
Critically engaging social science research and theory, The Reciprocating Self offers an integrated approach that provides insight helpful to college and seminary students as well as those serving in the helping professions. Those preparing for or currently engaged in Christian ministry will be especially rewarded by the in-depth discussion of the implications for moral and faith development nurtured in the context of the life of the church.
PrefacePart 1: Toward an Integrated Model of Human Development
1. The Developmental Dilemma
2. The Reciprocating Self: A Trinitarian Analogy of Being and Becoming
3. Reciprocating Relationships
4. The Reciprocating Self and Developmental Theory
5. The Reciprocating Self in Social ContextPart 2: Life-Span Stages
6. Infancy: The Emergence of the Reciprocating Self
7. Childhood: The Reciprocating Self Goes to School
8. Adolescence: More Reciprocity Than You Think
9. Emerging Adulthood and Young Adulthood: The Solidifying of the Reciprocating Self
10. Middle Adulthood: The Generativity of the Reciprocating Self
11. Late Adulthood: The Senescing of the Reciprocating SelfPart 3: Building the Scaffold: Applications for Ministry
12. Special Issues in Human Development: Morality
13. Differentiated Faith: Spiritual and Religious Development
14. Turning Steeples into Scaffolds: The Reciprocating Religious Community