There are a number of factors that defines how human beings change as they grow old. Exposure to different environments is one of the major player to this change. Human beings like all living things begin their life as a single cell (when the male and the female gametes meet and the ovum gets fertilized) thus marking the beginning of life.
The interaction of the genes and the environment around as the cell grows from the embryo up to the adult stage makes us different and unique in everyway from others. For instance, the reaction to same environment is very diverse even in two identical twins.
Human growth can be defined as the increase in size and mass of the body, these two characteristics are measured by height and weight respectively. Other than growth, there is also development which is the progressive change in the body (either qualitative or quantitative) that helps one differentiate an undifferentiated or immature state to a highly specialized and mature human being (Bogin 15).
The theories of how human beings grow and change are several with each trying to explain how we all grow and react differently to diverse situations that we are exposed to, in life.
Charles Darwin theory of inheritance suggests that we behave according to the genes we inherit from our progenies (whether it is from the father or from the mother). As long as we carry out our parents genes within our system we will always behave in a way that relates to them.
Another theory which contradicts the inheritance theory is the selfish gene which states that genes not only affect our physical characteristics but also our behaviors thus we don’t need to have inherited them rather we can develop unique behaviors as we grow. For example, behaviors that are caring and nurturing such as the care shown to young children may be more about ensuring the survival of the next generation than altruism and loving behavior as most of us believe.
How we are brought up determines who we become. For example, a child treated with love and kindness is more likely to care about his her fellow collegues and seek fairness and equity in situations which call for the same.
This theory tries to understand how human beings think by understanding the thought process. The assumption that human beings are logical means that human beings make choices that have sense to them and thus will change as they grow as their environments change to meet the required demands (Fritscher 1).
The believe that development of human thought processes is an interactive one (between the individual and their environment) and that it takes place through the absorption of key experiences and differs from other behavioral perspectives which maintain that the environment shapes who we are holds.
For instance, when a child interacts with the environment he begins to understand the world only through active engagement with it, their understanding becomes more complex as they pass through the cognitive process and understand how the environment really is.
Self concept is another factor that makes us change as we grow. Many people define self concept as that perception one has for his or her qualities and attributes.
The argument is that infants have got no sense of self on birth but as they grow this changes; at two years most kids will have recognized themselves, at pre-school age the child self concept is concrete and physical and by 8 years of age the kid can describe inner qualities and by adolescent self concepts become more abstract. Cultural and family factors influence the development of these attributes and traits.
There are five genetically based needs that as we try to fulfill makes us change. They include survival, love and belonging, power or achievement, freedom, and fun. People will do everything to make sure that they have most of these for example who hates to be loved? We always act to control the world around us and the real world is important to the extent it helps us satisfy our needs although we may not always satisfy our needs directly (Anon 6-8).
As the editor of pick the brain explains (1) some individuals holds the view that people do not change, others say people only change if there is a reason to.
He explains that although one may have some inner traits only known to oneself, we are not imprisoned by them thus we will always change. Believing that we can’t change makes us accept our weaknesses and stay imprisoned by them but the moment one realises that he can change then it becomes easier to overcome our weaknesses and move on with life (Pick brain editor 1).
Other people argue that individuals do not change but grow and if they grow it is sometimes not always. Their characters, personality and other qualities that equate to how human beings operate change only substantially.
They only improve and become better version of themselves. Though to some degree this may not appear as change, the fact that they are improving is an indication that they are changing from the past self to a better person or a worse person as they grow older.
As we grow older not only do we change but also our needs change. We make new friends while losing in touch with the old ones and we might even forget them. For example how many of us remember their childhood friends, those friends we could not sleep before seeing, those friends whom we thought meant much to us in this world more than our parents even did at that time, do we still have them? where they are and whatever they are doing is no longer our concern.
We would want to be concerned but we can not. We have made new friends, forged ahead as many say and though not entirely forgotten them.
But can we blame ourselves anyway? It is good to note that when we were young children we used to live, play, and act as we wanted. At that time we had no responsibilities or worries but as we grew older pressures and less freedom seemed to follow us everywhere, 24 hours began becoming inadequate for a day chores.
Old age has brought with it many responsibilities and reality is checking; in we have got limited time to do everything that we would wish. It is always sweeter than reality knowing that we will never go back to childhood (Anon 1). For example I remember my childhood girlfriend. I used to think that how I felt about her was so natural that one day we would end up together like our parents, mum and dad.
But soon after primary school she went to a different and far place from where we used to stay and so our friendship grew weaker and weaker; I don’t know what happened to her afterwards. I still feel sad about her sometimes that I cant tell what kind of a person she became or what she is doing now but all I know is that if we meet in the streets may be we could remember each other and the old things we used to do or may be we couldn’t.
I wonder what would happen; a lot has happened between us and a lot of things have changed as we get older we view things differently and even argue differently. Even if I try to look for her it may not be productive as we may not even cope. The only thing that remains is for us to accept that things have changed and life has to move on (Nelson 1).
The reason why we change as we grow is that change gives us a chance to reach new heights, it makes us unique. Diverse exposures makes us change differently, be it in our thinking, beliefs or even the way we view things. Since we won’t always be in the same place we will at all times change no matter how much fear we hold.
As we grow old things do change;memories fade away slowly as we gro old. We forget what our childhood dreams and the promises were, we get lost in making new unworthy priorities and synthetic emotions. We no longer do things because they benefit others but we do things because we are supposed to do them.
Because one said so or because everyone is doing so we forget who we are, what we want, and we become too scared even to follow our very own dreams.
The changes that happen in our lives are inevitable and so we don’t have to regret about the past which we can’t have hold of rather we should enjoy and do everything today that makes our souls happy for today is tomorrow’s past and once it’s gone it becomes part of our history.
Anonymous. Human Growth and Development. Not Dated. 29th Oct 2010.
Anonymous. Will We Change Our Friends When We Grow Up. 2009. 29th Oct 2010.
Bogin, Barry. Patterns of Human Growth. Cambridge university.1999. 29th Oct 2010.
Editor, pick the brain. People Do Change. 2007. 29th Oct 2010.
Fritscher, Lisa. Cognitive Theory. 2009. 29th Oct 2010.
Nelson, Sara. When You and Your Best Friend Grow Apart. 2006. 29th Oct 2010.