Louise J. Kaplan Quotes
We humans undergo two major growth spurts: one during infancy and another from eleven to twelve until fifteen or sixteen–pubescence. Between the two is a relatively quiescent growth period in which most of the body takes a rest from growing while the brain continues to mature. This period of life is general referred to as childhood or, sometimes, latency.
Infancy is the realm conveyed to us in dreams which look backward to the past. Adolescence, more like a work of art, is a prospective symbol of personal synthesis and of the future of humankind. Like a work of art that sets us on the pathway to new discoveries, adolescence promotes new meanings by mobilizing energies that were initially invested in the past.
The purpose of adolescence is to revise the past, not to obliterate it. . . . Adolescence entails the deployment of family passions to the passions and ideals that bind individuals to new family units, to their communities, to the species, to nature, to the cosmos. Therefore, given half a chance, the revolution at issue in adolescence becomes a revolution of transformation, not of annihilation.
As he walks away on his own two feet–the toddler’s body-mind has reached its moment of perfection. The world is his and he the mighty conqueror of all he beholds…. As long as mother sticks around in the wings, the mighty acrobat confidently performs his trick of twirling in circles, walking on tiptoe, jumping, climbing, staring, naming. He is joyous, filled with his grandeur and wondrous omnipotence.
Fathers have a special excitement about them that babies find intriguing. At this time in his life an infant counts on his motherfor rootedness and anchoring. He can count on his father to be just different enough from a mother. Fathers embody a delicious mixture of familiarity and novelty. They are novel without being strange or frightening.
We humans, once we have become emotionally invested in a homeplace, a prized personal possession, or, especially, in another person, find it immensely difficult to give them up….Because they were made at a time of life when we were utterly dependent on them, the love attachments of infancy have inordinate power over us, more than any other emotional investment.
Though they themselves might be as surprised as their parents and teachers to hear it said, adolescents–these poignantly thin- skinned and vulnerable, passionate and impulsive, starkly sexual and monstrously self-absorbed creatures–are, in fact, avid seekers of moral authenticity. They wish above all to achieve some realistic power over the real world in which they live while at the same time remaining true to their values and ideals.