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Cleanliness and Respect
The developmental theme for chapter five is cleanliness and respect. It is portrayed throughout the chapter that youth have to be highly respectful towards older people. They are also expected to keep themselves neat. These children are supposed to keep not only their bodies clean but their environment as well. We read of Momma, who was the key figure of substance; who was the one demanding these two characteristics of cleanliness and respect from children who lived with her. Particularly under her carefully watch was Maya. Indeed, the children did not dishearten Momma in this regard, as they did well to discrete themselves from other children. The children being around Momma spoke civilly to one another and were very tidy. Relating this to adolescent development, it could be said that the need to be respectful and clean is very important for all young people. Respectful adolescents can learn from adults on how they should manage the new psychosocial changes they find themselves in. Cleanliness also ensures that adolescents are labeled as highly mature and ready for adulthood.
There is no way one can undermine religion and a need to worship a divine deity in the development of a person. Certainly, there are numerous religions in the world. However, there is a greater probability that a person will belong to the religion of his or her parents. This is to say that people often observe the religion they were born into. The sixth chapter of the book lays a lot of prominence on religion. The key figure of the chapter is Reverend Howard. Quite ironic is the fact that the Reverend seems to have certain habits that go contrary to Biblical and Christian teachings. One of this is the act of gossiping each time he visited Momma on Saturday nights. This may sound ridiculous, but it has a lot of advice to be learned. As people who were growing up, Maya and Bailey had a lot to learn about a preacher, who always exhausted long hours in the pulpit preaching and yet gossiped, just like an unbeliever. The children learned that their religious worship had to be free from all forms of hypocrisy.
Gratitude and Appreciation
Day in and out, we meet people who influence our lives in a lot of positive ways. These people, who make the most momentous positive impact on our lives, must never be forgotten. As depicted in the seventh chapter, there is no way we have to forget to show appreciation to the people who influence our lives positively. Maya portrays the importance of showing gratitude by paying tribute to her grandmother. Gratitude and appreciation is, therefore, the developmental topic discussed in the chapter. As adolescents, we learn of the need to inspire the lives of other people so that at the right time, they will recognize our efforts in their lives. The second lesson is that we always have to show appreciation and gratitude to people when they are in a position to appreciate them. We should not always wait till they die.
In the eighth chapter, there is a theme of racism and this is very significant to the development of adolescents. The chapter starts with sharp condemnation against the Whites in the Stamps. The Whites were seen as people who looked down on the Blacks, and treated them with disdain. Even today, we notice that racism is a subject that is highly frowned upon. Racism is castigated in all quarters of human endeavor and must, therefore, not be entertained by the growing youth of our day. As adolescents, it is important that we accept all people as creatures of God and people filled with diverse talents and skills we can work with. Discrimination should be eschewed not only in terms of race but also in terms of other aspects of people’s lives, such as gender, poverty, and disability.
We notice the developmental theme of family reunion in the ninth chapter of the book. For various reasons and circumstances, a lot of children do not grow up, staying with their parents. It is true to say that the practice, whereby children live with a single parent or live outside the home of their biological parents, has a lot of pessimistic effects on the children. In most circumstances, this condition leads to challenges in child-upbringing, including the adaption of delinquent behaviors. It is in this direction that Maya considered her family reunion with her father as very important during Christmas Holidays. The major lesson that we learn from this chapter is that even if justifiable reasons like work make parents live apart from their children, they should still make conscious efforts to reunite with their children when the opportunity presents its self through events like holidays. Even when there is divorce, parents are still admonished to find time to reunite with their children.