Life Span Development and Personality: Mother Teresa
Life Span Development and Personality: Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia on August 26, 1910. Her family was of Albanian descent. At the age of twelve, she felt the strong call of God and knew that she had to be a missionary in order to spread the love of Christ. As a result, in 1928, when she was 18, she left the parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India. After a few months of training in Dublin, she was sent to India, where she took the initial vows as a nun in May 24, 1931. From 1931 to 1948, she taught St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta, but suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls which motivates her to receive a permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to work among the poor in slums of Calcutta. Consequently, on October 7, 1950, she received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, which is The Missionaries of Charity (Nobel Prize, n.d.). In 1965, the Society became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI. In September 5, 1997, at 9:30, Mother Teresa died at the Motherhouse (Mother Teresa Cause, 2009).
Psychological development is considered as the development of the cognitive, emotional, intellectual and social capabilities and functioning over the course of the life span, from infancy through old age (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2009).
Mother Teresa had been able to develop to a charitable and high morale women with the great love and fear of God. Thus, this psychological development can be attributed to her family, together with the individuals and groups that she met during her childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. Mother Teresa’s family, particularly her parents are the ones which influenced his moral and social development. Particularly, both her mother and father taught their children to be close and informed about the presence of God, together with the different sacrifices done by different Saints in declaring their love to the Lord, and spreading His words. According to Mother Teresa, her father was fond of reading holy books and even had some Spanish in order for his children to them too. She stated that she never say her parents so inclined to anything but virtue.
Her father was most charitable to the poor and most compassionate to the sick. As a matter of fact, his father treated their slave’s children as his own. Aside from that, Mother Teresa views him as extremely truthful man and was never heard to swear or speak slander and most rigid in his chastity. Thus, it can explain the inclination and awareness of Mother Teresa in helping those people who are in needs.
Her mother also influenced her social development. According to her, her mother was a woman of many virtues, who endured a life of great sickness and was extremely modest. Even though her other have a remarkable beauty, she never showed the least signs of setting any store by it. She also dressed like a woman advanced in years, very calm and understanding. Thus, throughout her life, she endured severe sufferings and dies in a most Christian manner (St. Teresa of Avila, 1957).
She was also influenced by other members of the family, especially her brothers and sisters who are very supportive and fond of her. And like her, all of them are all familiar with the word of God and God-fearing people. Therefore, due to the fact that almost all of the people surrounding her that time are into God, it had influenced her way of thinking and acting.
According to Mother Teresa, like normal adolescent, she was also been influenced by her peers. Her friends introduced some immoral thoughts and activities to her, which she believed could affect her and her family’s reputation. In this situation, friends have a great role in the development of psychological aspect of an individual, particularly in the aspect of moral and emotion. However, according to her, she was again saved by her loving parents. They sent them to a nunnery in order to realize her faults. Inside the nunnery, she had met a nun whom she considered as very saintly. Thus, the nun’s stories and principles have affected his mentality, morals and standards about being good and being close to God.
Towards the later adult life of Mother Teresa, she had been able to meet and live a life with people that are truly inclined to God and His will. Furthermore, she had also been exposed on the problems of poverty and the likes in different parts of the globe. Thus, according to her, she had been able to use and applied the virtues and morals that she had learned from her family.
On the other hand, it is also important to consider the impact her of the social and economical condition in her personality or psychological development. In the first place, it will be impossible for her parents to present those books and ideas about God, without their wealth during that time. Aside from that, due to their social status, her parents had been able to bring her up in good schools and even inside the nunnery for her to learn more about God. Thus, their wealth or social status during that time enables to give Mother Teresa the benefits of having a good environment due to their social advantages.
Different personality theories focuses on explaining the reason behind the development of the entire personality and behavior of an individual based on the different factors which can be found in the environment. Thus, it is believed that it can affect all of the psychological aspects of individual including moral, social, emotional and other related aspect.
Mother Teresa had been able to do all of her life span in life including her strong faith and believed in God, together with her mission to help those who are in need. Based on the fact stated above, it can be said that the entire psychological development of Mother Teresa was influenced by different environmental factors, particularly those that are variables which can be observe, measure, manipulates and avoids. Albert Bandura is considered as one of the researchers about personality disorders who pertain on the impact of the environment, including the persons or figures around a child. Mother Teresa had been able to develop her soft heartedness, being charitable and God fearing from her mother and father, as well as other part of the family, including her uncle, who gives up all his wealth to be a friar. The said theory opposes theories which include internal thoughts or feelings into account. Therefore, Mother Teresa would not be who she was without the influence of her parents and the environment where she used to leave. It can be observe on her story, where she stated that there were times that she questioned her parents and follow her friends, however, due to her family’s love; they had been able to bring her back to the right and Godly path.
In connection, due to her good experience and influence from her parents, the psychodynamic theories of personality can also explained Mother Teresa’s psychological development. The said theories focus on the principle or belief that unconscious mind and childhood experience has a great impact on the personality. The best theory that could explain her psychological development is the Erickson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development which focuses on the main element of development of ego identity. Ego identity is the conscious sense of self that people develop through social interaction, and it is constantly changing because of new experience and information that people acquire in daily interactions with other people (Van Wagner, Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development, 2009). It can be observed on the development of views of Mother Teresa about God from her childhood and adulthood, where she being to meet more God-fearing people such as the Pope. Aside from that she had been able to see the real situation of the world in terms of poverty. Thus, it had helped her to have a stronger faith and magnanimous characteristics.
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Encyclopedia Britannica. (2009). Psychological Development. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from Encyclopedia Britannica: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/481644/psychological-development
Mother Teresa Cause. (2009). Brief Biography of Mother Teresa of Calcutta . Retrieved July 10, 2009, from Mother Teresa Cause: http://www.motherteresacause.info/ABriefBiography.htm
Nobel Prize. (n.d.). Mother Teresa Biography. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from Nobel Price Org: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1979/teresa-bio.html
St. Teresa of Avila. (1957). The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself. London: Penguin Books.
Van Wagner, K. (2009). Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from About.Com: http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/psychosocial.htm
Van Wagner, K. (2009). Theories of Personality: Personality Psychology Study Guide. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from About.Com: http://psychology.about.com/od/psychologystudyguides/a/personalitysg_3.htm