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Erik Erikson, believed that personality develops in a series of stages.

His theory describes


the impact of social experience across the whole lifespan (Cherry, n.d). One of the main
elements of Erikson's psychosocial stage theory is the development of ego identity. Ego identity
is the conscious sense of self that we develop through social interaction. According to Erikson,
our ego identity is constantly changing due to new experiences and information we acquire in
our daily interactions with others (Cherry, n.d). Erikson also believed that a sense of
competence motivates behaviors and actions. Each stage in Erikson's theory is concerned with
becoming competent in an area of life. If the stage is handled well, the person will feel a sense of
mastery, which is sometimes referred to as ego strength or ego quality. If the stage is managed
poorly, the person will emerge with a sense of inadequacy. In each stage, Erikson believed
people experience a conflict that serves as a turning point in development. In Erikson's view,
these conflicts are centered on either developing a psychological quality or failing to develop that
quality. During these times, the potential for personal growth is high, but so is the potential for
failure (Cherry, n.d.).
The following is a study, of me, in regards to Eriksons eight stages in development: Trust
verses Mistrust, Autonomy verses Shame and Doubt, Initiative verses Guilt, Industry verses
Inferiority, Identity verses Role Confusion, Intimacy verses Isolation, Generativity verses
Stagnation, and Integrity verses Despair. (Chapman, 2006). I will be analyzing how my
development, during these stages, helped mold me into the person I am today and will continue
to mold me later in life.

Stage One: Infants - Birth to Age One Year


Trust verses Mistrust
Early in life, infants depend on others for food, care, and affection and must blindly trust
caregivers to meet their needs. If their (an infants) needs are met consistently and
responsively, infants will not only develop a secure attachment, but will also learn to trust their
environment. If (an) infants needs are not met, they will not trust people and things in their
environment. (Miller, 2013, p. 53)
I was born in Waco, Texas, August 22, 1969. While, at that point in time, it was considered
usual for the mother to stay at home and the father to work, my parents were unconventional.
My mother worked full time as a Registered Nurse and my father went to college during the day
and drove a cab at night. My mother remembers saving up all of her sick and vacation days, so
she could stay home with me, for a longer period of time, before going back to work. She
remembers me being a p.m. personality, when I was first born. I would sleep off and on all day
and then be up most of the night. She also remembers the anxiety and fear, she felt, when it
came time to choose a babysitter, for me, when it was time for her to go back to work. After
spending a week interviewing various women, for the position of babysitter, she had almost
given up. It seemed, to her, the women she interviewed were more interested in the hourly rate,
and when they would be paid, but, as she remembered it, not one asked to see or hold me. Then
she interviewed Ida Belle Nitzke. She remembers interviewing Nicky and, after asking her the
same questions she had asked everyone else, asked if she had any questions. Nickys answer
was, Can I hold her? When she handed me to Nicky, according to my mother, I looked up at

her, smiled and went back to sleep. With that, Nicky became my babysitter. My mother now
admits, part of the reason she had so much anxiety or was very picky, was because of my legs.
I was born with one foot turned in and had leg casts, at first, then braces after that, for the first
year. Although it did not seem to bother me, I reached the same milestones, rolling, crawling
etcetera, as any other child at that age, she was worried my babysitter would think less of me,
because of it.
According to my mother, my attitude toward Nicky did not change. But, as I grew toward
the one year mark, my feelings about some of my other family members made themselves
known. I was not comfortable around my grandmother. When I was a newborn, I would cry
whenever she held me. As I grew older, I would stiffen up whenever she would get close. I had
the same reaction toward my great aunts. However, I was very happy when my grandfather was
around. From my mothers point of view, he could hold me like a sack of potatoes and I would
love it.
The only significant situation, my mother could think of, in that first year, was my
relationship with my father. My father was not around much that first few months of my life.
Between studying and work, he was not home often. My mother remembers when my father was
off during spring break. He had decided to take the week off of work also, to spend time with
me. So, it was decided they would give Nicky the week off and my father would take care of
me. Well, according to my mother, it did not go over too well. I was terrified of him. I would
not stop crying and when he tried to pick me up, I would start screaming. That first day, he
called my mother at work and asked what to do. She took the rest of the day off and after
coming home and talking with my father, it was decided Nicky would come back for the week,
but my father would also be there. I was a lot more comfortable around my father, when Nicky

was there. My mother and father realized that with dads schedule, he was a stranger to me.
After that, my father started coming home for dinner every night and would put me to bed before
going to work.
I believe I ended this stage pretty well. Despite the ups and downs involving my father, I was
lucky. I had two very caring parents and I had a Nicky who took care of me, like one of her
own, when my mother was working.

Stage Two: Toddlers-One to Two Years


Independence versus Doubt and Shame
Toddlers begin to develop self-help skills, self-feeding, potty learning, dressing, and so on, at
this age. Their self confidence in this stage hinges on their negotiation of this difficult new
territory with caregivers (Miller, 2013, p.53). If caregivers encourage the childs initiative and
encourage her when she falls, she will develop confidence (Miller, 2013, p. 54). But, if
caregivers are overprotective, negative, or disapproving of her newfound independence, she may
doubt her abilities or feel shame (Miller, 2013, p. 54).
Since I do not remember this time in my life either, I again had to rely on my mothers
memory.
The first thing she remembered was me hitting the terrible twos early. By the time I was
one, I no longer had to wear any kind of leg braces or supports. In her words, The doctor took
the braces off and you started running. According to my mother, I was into everything. There
was no safe territory. It was not uncommon for her to find me on top of a table, counter, or chair.
It was also not uncommon for me to pull everything out of drawers, cabinets, the refrigerator
etcetera. I also had the irritating habit of hiding in the dryer. They had to put a lock on the
laundry room door, to keep me out. When I asked my mother if I acted the same way around
Nicky, she said, Not that she remembered.
The two other significant memories my mother has, of this time, were my eating habits and my
potty training.

I was what my mother thought at the time, a picky eater. I would only eat one thing on a plate
at a time. If more than one thing was on the plate, I would not eat. My grandmother, who I still
did not care for, told her I was being picky and to force me to eat, by not allowing me to get up
from the table until I had eaten everything on my plate. My mother tried this with no success. I
would throw a screaming fit and would get so upset I would start throwing up. My mother
would give in and take all but one thing off of my plate and I would eat. Then, as my mother
remembers it, shortly thereafter she had a day where she had meetings all one morning, but a
longer than usual lunch hour, so she decided to come home for lunch. She walked in just as
Nicky was getting my lunch ready. I was sitting in my chair eating macaroni and cheese. When
I was done with that, Nicky then put something else on my plate. Then, when I was done with
that she gave me something different. Mom said as she watched, the light dawned. Nicky fed
me one thing at a time. Because she was the one who primarily fed me that was what I was used
to. My mother says now that she felt like an idiot at the time, for not asking Nicky for her
suggestions when she was having problems with my picky eating.
The other significant memory my mother has, of this time, is trying to potty train me.
Actually, what she remembers is asking Nicky if she thought 18 months was too young. Mom
admits after the difficulties with my picky eating, she always talked with Nicky first, so they
would all be on the same page. Nicky said she would try and see what happens. Well, according
to my mother, it was not a difficult task. The only problem was, I would only go when
someone else was going too. From what she remembers, she and Nicky drank a lot of water
until I was comfortable enough to go by myself.
Again, I think I made it through this stage pretty well. I was not chastised for being a busy
child. It was accepted and in some cases, I think, enjoyed. My mother spoke of that time in my

life with a smile on her face. I think she was relieved the problems with my legs were no longer
an issue. I do see the rebellion, toward my mother, coming out some. How I would not do things
around Nicky, but would do them around her. I also again see my father at a distance, still in
school and working. But, although I do not remember it, according to my mother, my father still
came home every night he could to tuck me in at bed time

Stage Three: Preschoolers-Two to Six Years


Initiative verses Guilt
Children find a new sense of power and freedom as they develop the motor skills and the
language skills they need to become fully engaged in the environment and the social interactions
around them. They discover that with this power and freedom comes a new adult pressure to
control immature impulses and to follow rules. If parents are encouraging, positive, and
consistent in guidance, children learn to accept rules without guilt. If not, children may
develop a sense of guilt and my become cling and dependent or rebellious and resistant. (Miller,
2013, p. 54)
Most of the milestones I remember about this stage in my life are not good ones. They
revolve around the loss of a grandmother, a house and a whole way of life.
The first milestone I remember, in this stage of my life, is my family moving from Texas to
Maryland when I was four years old.
My father had finally finished with his Doctorates and it was decided we should move. In
truth, my mother told me later, the reason we moved was to get as far away as possible, from her
family. It was decided my mother would accept a position with the V.A., as Assistant Director of
Nursing. I can remember my parents telling me about the news, about how I would get to see
snow and the change in seasons, about how my father would be a stay at home dad and we would
get to spend lots of time together, But, all I remember is the feeling I had at the thought of losing
Nicky. Nicky was the center of my universe. She was my best friend, my grandmother figure
and in some cases, the only adult I had contact with. I was not happy and I made my feelings

known by throwing fits, by screaming and at the end crying. But, the decision was made. We
were moving.
The first year we were in Maryland was okay. Our house was on the V.A. base and was a
rental. I can remember thinking it was haunted, because of the noises the furnace made. I went
to half day Kindergarten, met some kids my own age, but most importantly, I got to spend a year
with my father. It started slow, for my father and me, as we did not really know each other. But,
in time things changed. I learned my father could be fun. Every day, after school, my father and
I would go do something. We would go to the movies, or the grocery store. He taught me how
to bowl, to fish, to roller-skate, to cook and to ride a bike. We had a blast. He did not treat me
like a child, but like a little adult. Then, after that one year, my world turned upside down again.
My father went back to work.
It was the summer before my 6th birthday, when my father went back to work and I was
thrown into the world of babysitters, strange children, and odd lunches. I had never been to a
babysitter before. I was lucky enough to have had first a Nicky, then my father. I can
remember going to the babysitters house for the first time. I remember all of the rules she had,
that I had never had before. We were only allowed to be in the living room. The only time we
were allowed to leave that room was to eat or to go to the bathroom. We were never allowed to
go outside. I can remember being made to take a nap. I had never had a nap time before. I
remember sitting by the window waiting for my mother to pick me up. I remember children who
would push and shove and hit when the sitter was not watching. I was miserable. So, I did the
only thing I could do. I rebelled. I would run away from home, when it was time for me to go to
the sitter. I stole coins from my fathers collection and used them to buy ice cream. I would try
to ride my bike off the base, determined to get back to Nicky. I would be caught and taken back

home where I would be spanked and sent to my room. When that did not work, they would take
away my television time, my toys, and my books. I was told, by my mother, that they tried
everything they could think of to try to get me to stop my rebellious behavior, but nothing
worked. I remember spending my 6th birthday in my room because I had tried again to run away.
This stage in my development was difficult. It started with sadness at moving away from the
only home I had ever known, to encouraging parents who allowed me to express myself and
learn and grow, and ended with me becoming miserable and rebellious.

Stage Four: School-agers: Six to 12 Years


Industry verses Inferiority

School is the critical factor of this stage. Children make a transition from the world of home
into the world of community, school and peers. Home is still important, but succeeding outside
the home takes on new importance. If children learn that they can succeed, that others value
their work, they develop a sense of competence. If not, they will develop a sense of inferiority
and my start looking for negative way to wish status with peers. (Miller, 2013, p. 54)
The milestones, I recall, about this stage in my life are; moving to Ft. Wayne, my school
experience, learning to run and dealing with Mononucleosis.
After spending a total of two years in Maryland, it was decided we would move again, this
time to Ft. Wayne, Indiana. I will say at this point, I had totally turned against my parents or any
adult for that matter. My behavior had continued downward. I was even more rebellious the
second year, than the first. On top of my other behaviors, I had started to skip school. I know it
sounds impossible for a first grader to accomplish this, but I did. The deciding factor, for our
move, was my final run away attempt. In the past, the guards at the gate had always caught me.
This time they did not. I made it all the way into town before being picked up by the police and
returned to my mother, at work. Shortly after, it was announced we would be moving to Indiana
and, for the first time in my life, my mother would be staying home.
We moved to Ft. Wayne the summer before my second grade year. I was almost seven at the
time. We spent the first month living in a trailer court. While my father would go off to work,

my mother and I would go look at possible homes for us. During that time I learned my mother
could be almost as fun as my father. While we did not do all of the things dad and I did. We
learned a lot about each other. After about a month of looking, we found our dream home and I
loved it. The house itself sat on a lot and a half, with lots of room for me to run. It was in an
older neighborhood that was filled with families with children my age. For the first time in a
long time, we were all happy.
My school experience, for the most part, was a good one. While I was shy, at first, in my new
school setting, I soon found friends in my classmates and learned that not all teachers were mean.
In fact, my Second grade teacher reminded me of Nicky. Also, my parents and I learned
something about me. I was smart. My parents had always judged me as average or below
because of my experiences in school, in Maryland. They found out early on, from Mrs. Rohrs,
that I was fidgety because I bored, not because I did not understand. I was given extra
assignments to do and was encouraged to bring a book with me, to read at those times I was
waiting for other students to finish assignments. These practices continued through the Fifth
grade.
As I went through grade school, I found something else about myself. I could run. To begin,
my father had started jogging when I was in the Fourth grade. His goal was to one day run a
marathon. On a whim, one day I decided to join him on one of his five mile runs. I kept up with
him step for step. While I did not run a marathon with him, I did go with him, on his runs, on a
regular basis. Both of my parents encouraged me to go out for track, and I could not wait until I
was in middle school, so I could be on the Cross Country team.

When I started middle school, I immediately went out for Cross Country. Along with
practices, I would also run with my father. For the first two or so weeks, everything was fine.
Then I started getting more and more tired. It would get to the point I would come home and fall
asleep almost immediately and still have to be woken up in the morning. My mother finally took
me to the doctor. We then found out I was suffering from Mononucleosis. While most cases of
Mono last a week or two, mine did not. I had Mono for four months. In that time, I was put on
complete bed rest and given B 12 shots on a weekly basis to try and boost my system back up.
By the time I completely recovered, I had gained 30 pounds and found I could not run anymore.
Even for the ups and downs, I feel I went through this stage really well. I was encouraged in
school by my teachers. I learned that being smart was a good thing. I had a great many friends.
For the first time, I had parents who were happy and supportive of me, and even though it did not
last, I was encouraged to follow my dream of running.

Stage Five: Twelve to Eighteen Years


Identity verses Role Confusion
During adolescence, children explore their independence and develop a sense of self. Those
who receive proper encouragement and reinforcement through personal exploration will emerge
from this stage with a strong sense of self and a feeling of independence and control. Those who
remain unsure of their beliefs and desires will feel insecure and confused about themselves and
the future (Cherry, K. (n.d.).
My journey through this stage of development was much like they say about March, I came
in like a lion and out like a lamb. The major milestones I went through were; myself after
Mono, a three year nightmare, and finding my best friend.
When I was finally able to go back to school, it was the beginning of the second semester. I
found a lot of things had changed. The friends I had developed in grade school had found new
friends and now that I was back, they no longer looked at me as a friend, but as an outcast. So
here I was, 30 pounds heavier, in a new school, with no friends. So I did what most people do,
when they need desperately to feel like they belong, I fell in with the wrong crowd. First, I
should explain how it happened. Our middle school, much like others, was a melting pot of five
or six grade schools. So there were many kids that I had never met. Since these kids did not
know what I looked like in grade school or who I was friends with then, they accepted me with
open arms. I became one of the bad kids. This went on the entire time I was in middle school
and the first two years of high school. I skipped school, would drink, smoke, and lie to my
parents about where I was and what I was doing.

During that period of time, my parents, one

who was a Psychologist and one with a Masters in Psychiatric Nursing, had no idea what to do
with me. They would ground me, they would give me various punishments, and nothing
changed my behavior. They finally chalked it up to a phase that I would grow out of. It only got
worse. That is when I met Gary.
I met Gary through a friend of a friend. She thought it would be great if we could double date
so she asked her boyfriend, who was a junior at the time, to set me up with a friend of his. That
is how the three year nightmare started. I should point out here, this was the summer between
eighth and ninth grade. I was almost 14. He was 18. To be quite honest, I did not like him. For
one thing he was short. I was 59 and he was the same height. I actually think, at that point in
time, he weighed less than I did. But, he had a nice car. My parents freaked out when they
found out how old he was and my mother made the ultimate mistake, she forbade me to date
him. With that ultimatum in place, I became Garys girlfriend. Soon after I started dating him,
the insults started. I was fat, I was ugly, I was lucky he could put up with me, because I was so
stupid, and the list goes on. What little self-esteem I had was gone. I was lost. My life became
a cycle of verbal abuse, alcohol and drug use, skipping school, lying to my parents, alienating my
friends and trying to live up to Garys unreasonable expectations of me. Things started to change
for me my junior year in high school. While I was still with Gary, I started to quietly, without
him knowing, make some new friends. It was with their encouragement, my grades started to go
up. I was taking better care of myself and starting to come out from under the rock Gary had
tried to bury me under. I ended my relationship with Gary the summer before my senior year.
That summer was one of the best I had ever had. I was free. I spent time with my friends, made
amends with my parents, and spent a lot of time working on me. I started my senior year 30

pounds lighter and with a whole new attitude. This is the year I met the man who truly changed
my life.
I met Jeff on October 18, 1986. I was invited to a party; a friend was having, when we met. I
can remember seeing him for the first time. 65, blonde hair, blue eyes, and the greatest smile I
had ever seen. He was playing Ping Pong with one of my good friends, and when the game was
over, Chad introduced us. We ended up talking until the next morning and then spent the day
together. He was 21, in college, and the total opposite of Gary. He was kind. I fell in love with
him on our first official date. Because he went to school in Ohio, he could only come home on
certain weekends, so it was two weeks after we met, before we could see each other again. We
had gone to a movie, then we were going to go to the Blue Mountain Coffee Shop afterward and
it was closed. We were standing in front of the shop deciding what to do next, when it started to
rain. He moved in close to me and tucked my head under his. When I asked him what he was
doing, he said, Its raining and I dont want you to get wet. In that moment, I fell in love with
him. The rest of my senior year was a great. My grades continued to improve and there was
actually a chance I could go to college. I had a part time job I loved, had plenty of time to spend
time with my friends, and I got to see Jeff most weekends. I graduated from high school in June
and turned 18 in August.
While I was very lucky to have come out of this stage as well as I did, there are still some
scars. I still feel inadequate at times and my self-image is not always the best. However,
because of the love and support of my family, my friends and especially my husband of 23 years,
Jeff, I am able to overcome those feelings and my confidence in myself returns.

Stage Six: Eighteen to Forty


Intimacy verses Isolation

This stage covers the period of early adulthood when people are exploring personal
relationships. Erikson believed it was vital that people develop close, committed relationships
with other people. Those who are successful at this step will form relationships that are
committed and secure. Successful resolution of this stage results in the virtue known as love.
It is marked by the ability to form lasting, meaningful relationships with other people. Studies
have demonstrated that those with a poor sense of self tend to have less committed relationships
and are more likely to suffer emotional isolation, loneliness, and depression ( Cherry, K. (n.d.)..
While this is the largest section of my life, it is probably the most calm. The major milestones
I can think of are; being out on my own, my marriage to Jeff, moving to Marion, starting a
family and starting a business.
In June of 1988, my parents announced they were moving to Arizona, to start a publishing
company. Not only was I shocked that I would have to leave my childhood home, I was more
shocked that they expected me to move with them. The previous year had seen me going to
school part time, working almost full time, and spending any free time with Jeff. They now
expected me to go to college, in Arizona and Jeff could visit on holidays. They were wrong.
Instead of moving with them, I talked to my boss about becoming a full time employee and I got

a small apartment, in the town, where Jeff went to school. It would mean an hour commute to
and from work, but I knew it would only be a year before we could move back to Ft. Wayne. I
spent my 19th birthday taking the last of my things out of the only home I had ever loved. Living
on my own was an experience I will never forget. Even though Jeff was close, he had work and
his last year of school to worry about so we did not see each other that often. For the first time in
my life, I was on my own. I learned a lot in a hurry. The big thing was budget. No mom or dad
to say help when things got tight. I only got to see my parents once that year, at Christmas. I
learned the only person you can truly count on, is yourself. Jeff graduated in May and we moved
back to Ft. Wayne and in together.
Jeff proposed to me in September, 1989. My parents announced, six months later, they would
be moving back to Ft. Wayne. Though I was never told a reason for the move, I always thought
it was so mom could be closer to potential grandchildren. I was then given the job of finding
them a new home. The idea was, I would find six or seven potential homes and then my mother
would pick the one she liked best. They moved back to Ft. Wayne exactly two weeks before Jeff
and I got married.
Jeff and I had been married for four years when he was offered a promotion at work. The
only downside was we had to move closer to his new territory. His territory was to start in
Anderson and go the Indianapolis area. I was still working in Ft. Wayne and did not want to
change jobs, so we took out the map and picked the spot in the middle, Marion. The move was
scary and exciting at the same time. We had never owned a home and I had lived in Ft. Wayne
most of my life. We found the perfect home for us, with room to grow. Jeff had been making
comments about starting a family. He wanted six children, and I wanted none. I finally broke
down and told him why I did not want children. It was quite simple and selfish, if we have a

baby, I would not be his baby anymore. Two years later, April 11, 1997, Alexandria Elizabeth
was born.
I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom. It was tight at times, but Jeff and I both felt it
would be best for Alex. Even though it was a total change for me, I had a blast. She became my
little sidekick and we did everything together. When she was two and a half, we were involved
in a car accident. We were t-boned, by a car, which ran a red light. Alex was fine, but I did not
fare so well. I had a broken pelvic bone and my left hip was bone bruised. There we also issues
with my neck, but they were never looked into because, two weeks later, I found out I was
pregnant.
My pregnancy the second time was much different than my first. Because I was pregnant,
they could do no further tests, to find the extent of my neck injuries. So, I had a two year old at
home, was on crutches for a month, constant headaches and muscle problems, because of my
neck, and a husband with had just started a new job. When I was five months pregnant, my
parents announced they were moving to Marion, to be closer to us. Because of my health, my
father was convinced I would need help with two children. So, when I was seven months
pregnant, my parents moved just north of Marion. On October 25, 2000, I gave birth to
Samantha Joan.
The last milestone I can think of is starting my own business. The property my parents had
purchased was on five acres. Along with the house and two ponds, there was a commercial
greenhouse. When Samantha was about six months old, my mother and I got the brilliant idea to
clean the greenhouse up. It had been unused for nothing more than storage for several years.
After cleaning it up, we went to town, bought some seeds and started planting some things for us.

Well, we grew too much. So we decided to put a sign out front and sell the extras. Next thing
we knew, we were in business.
The next years were a whirlwind. The business grew, our girls grew and the gaps, which had
developed with my parents, were again mended. Jeff had a great job and we had a great life. I
spend my 40th birthday, in Las Vegas, with my best friend. Life was good.
Throughout this stage, even with the ups and downs, I had the constant love for and from my
husband, my girls and even my parents. When I look back at all that happened and the amount
of growing I did, I am proud of whom I have become.

Stage Six: Thirty to Sixty Five


Generativity verses Stagnation
During adulthood, we continue to build our lives, focusing on our career and family. Those
who are successful during this phase will feel that they are contributing to the world by being
active in their home and community. Those who fail to attain this skill will feel unproductive and
uninvolved in the world (Cherry, K. (n.d.).
Since I have covered part of this stage of my development, in stage six, I will be focusing
from 40 onward. As I have not reached the end of this part in my development, I am 44; I will be
focusing on the part I have gone through. The milestones I have experienced, and are continuing
to experience are; Jeff losing his jobs, my job changes, going back to school and raising two
girls.
The Monday after Thanksgiving 2009, is a day I will never forget. It is the day Jeff lost his
job with Weiler. Jeff had been with Weiler for 10 years and while they had gone through some
changes, downsizing etcetera because of the economy, we were confident, when he went in for
his yearly review, he would be safe. We were wrong. He was downsized and, for the first time in
his life, he did not have a job. We were lucky though, he received 10 weeks of pay as part of his
packet and although we were both terrified, we knew he could find something else before the
paychecks stopped. The shock of losing his job devastated Jeff and, for the first month, he did
nothing. I found myself in a new position, while Jeff had always been the strong one, the one
who could handle anything, it was now my turn. I let him wallow in self-pity for a month, we
made it through the holidays, and then I lowered the boom. I did something I had never done

before; I got angry at my husband. I reminded him, it was not just him who was involved. We
had two daughters, a house and myself that all depended on him. I also told him I knew his ego
had taken a major blow, but it was time to put the past behind us and look toward the future. He
started his job with Line Drive in March, 2010. Two years later, he was again downsized. He
then decided big corporations were not for him and went with a much smaller company. He
started with TSG in 2012. He worked with TSG for almost exactly seven months. In that time
we discovered he had made a major mistake. While he got along very well with one partner, he
did not get along with the other. Little did we know at the time, but Dave had expected Jeff to
convert (read steal) business away from Weiler. It was something Jeff would not do. Dave
would hound him constantly. It got to the point that Jeffs health began to suffer. He was
gaining weight, not sleeping and having problems with his blood pressure. We decided Jeff
needed to get back into the job hunt. We were not quite fast enough. Dave had a major
meltdown on Jeff, in July and He was fired. He is now working as a substitute teacher and again
on the job hunt. Although it has been hard, Jeffs health has improved and his outlook on life is
better than it has been in four years. But, most importantly, he has remembered how to laugh.
Something he had forgotten how to do for a long time. We, the girls and I, have our Jeff back.
My second milestone started when Sam was 4, I was offered a job teaching pre-kindergarten
at the preschool she attended. Although Mom and I still had the green house, it was not a big
money maker. It was, and is, more of a hobby that pays for itself. So, after not working
officially for eight years, I went back to work and I loved it. I found I had a real love for
teaching and the children responded well to the way I did things. I believe more in play centered
learning, than the more structured paper, pencil, table type. I taught for two years and then,
because of lack of students, one of the teachers had to go. Since it was only two of us, I and the

director, there was really no choice. I continued to substitute when needed and when her
Educational Assistant announced she was leaving at the end of the school year, spring of 2012, I
was offered the job the following fall. Well, in the meantime I was encouraged, by a friend of
mine, to apply for an Educational Assistant position at Marion Community Schools. While I had
taught preschool, I had no formal education in the field and truthfully did not think I would have
a chance, but I applied and I was offered a job, three afternoons a week, in the Special Needs
preschool program. So I was going to work five mornings a week at one preschool and three
afternoons a week at another. It was a big change for me, but I was up to the challenge. What I
found out about myself, in the first five months at both jobs, has led me on to the path I am on
today. First, I found out, you cannot go into the same room you taught, as an Educational
Assistant. The director and I had totally different views on how children learn. She is under the
misguided belief that children are little adults and should act as such. When I would try to give
suggestions or do things the way I used to do them, I was told I was not the teacher, only the
E.A. I was miserable and I felt horrible for the children. On the plus side, at Marion Community
Schools, I was teamed up with a kindred spirit, Sarah Jones. She has the same philosophy about
how children learn as I do and we have a ball in class. So, in the mornings I was miserable, but I
always had the afternoons to look forward to. This is also the time I decided to go back to
school. I spent a lot of time comparing the two classes I worked with, how one class was boring
and miserable and how one class was fun and exciting, for both the children and the adults. I
decided the only way I could ensure that play centered learning continued, was to become a
teacher myself. So, in January of 2013, I started back to school. It was scary at first and difficult
to keep up with, between working and home life, but I am able to manage all three somehow.
My end goal is to achieve, at the least, a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education Special Needs.

I have one year left at Ivy Tech, and then it is off to either Ball State or Western Governors.
Also, I am no longer working at two different places, in January, 2012, I was offered a full time
position at MCS and I accepted it. I now get to enjoy being a part of play centered learning all
day.
Our girls, what can I say? I have watched them grow from little sprouts to beautiful flowers.
Alexandria, now 16, is in her junior year. Fortunately, she has a good head on her shoulders. I
hope some of that is because of me. I do not want to see her make the same mistakes as I did, so
I talk to her and more importantly, I listen. She is a beautiful young woman and although we
have had our differences, we are very close. Samantha is now 12. When asked who she takes
after, Alex looks and acts much like her dad, the easiest thing to say is, Sam is Sam. She is her
own person with her own identity and opinions and she has no problem with telling you that.
She has the free spirit I always wished I could have. I am very proud of both of our girls. They
are the light of our lives and sometimes the pain in our rears, but I truly hope, with guidance and
understanding and their own values firmly in place, they continue to grow into the wonderful
women I know they will be.
How will I end this stage in my development? I do not know. I envision Jeff in a stable job,
one he can have until retirement. I envision myself earning at least a bachelors degree, and
teaching to a ripe old age and I envision our girls growing into confident, successful women. So
far in this stage, it has been one of learning and growing; learning to accept change, learning not
to be afraid of new things and being open to changes when they present themselves.

Stage Eight: from Fifty till Death


Integrity verses Despair
This phase occurs during old age and is focused on reflecting back on life. Those who feel
proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this phase
means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will
attain wisdom, even when confronting death. Those who are unsuccessful during this stage will
feel that their life has been wasted and will experience many regrets. The individual will be left
with feelings of bitterness and despair (Cherry, K. (n.d.).
The milestones I see myself thinking of at this final stage of my development are; my life
with Jeff, how our girls have grown, my career and what it waiting for me on the other side.
I see Jeff and me living to a ripe old age, celebrating our 50th and even maybe our 60th year
together. I was lucky enough to marry my best friend, my soul mate and my partner for life. We
have had our ups and downs, as most people do, but the love and faith we have in each other has
withstood the test of time.
I see Alexandria happily married with a child. No offense, but after experiencing child birth
once, I do not think she would ever do it again. I see her with a career she loves, while her
husband is either a stay at home dad or works from home. I see her with someone who worships
the ground she walks on and loves her to pieces, even though she cannot cook and does not know
how to put gas in a car.

I see Samantha as Samantha. If she sticks to her childhood dream she will own her own bakery,
have a small farm and possibly a man in her life, but then again, maybe not. I do not see her
having children, but a house, and a barn, full of animals she will love like her children. She will
be the loving, free spirit she has always been.
I see myself ending my career at a ripe old age. I see myself with at least a Masters, if not a
Doctorates in Early Childhood Education, having become one of the decision makers to ensure
when children start to school, be it preschool or kindergarten, they will be met with a world full
of wonder and amazement. Where they can learn in a fun and play filled atmosphere, taught by
teachers who have the same ideals and philosophies myself, Jones and others share.
But most of all, as I close my eyes for the final time, I will look back on my life, the things I
have experienced, the disappointments, the achievements, the heartache, the tears and the love,
knowing without a doubt I did the best I could do. I will be proud of the life I have led and
wonderful people I have shared it with, knowing the next great adventure is just around the
corner.

References
Chapman, A. (Ed.). (2006). Erik Erikson's psychosocial theory of human development. Retrieved
from
http://www.businessballs.com/erik_erikson_psychosocial_theory.htm#erikson_psychosoc
ial_theory_summary
Cherry, K. (n.d.). Erikson's theory of psychosocial development. Retrieved from
http://psychology.about.com/od/psychosocialtheories/a/psychosocial.htm
Miller, D. F. (2013). Positive child guidance (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.