A fact that I selected as something that happened when I was growing up is puberty. Puberty is a process that takes place to all human beings during teenage years. According to Feldman 2008, puberty is the period during which the sexual organ of teenagers matures. Feldman said that “puberty begins when the pituitary gland in the brain signals other glands in child’s body to begin producing the sex hormones, androgen (male hormones) or estrogens (female hormones), at adult levels”. Normally, girls start the puberty stage approximately at age 11 or 12 and boys start somewhere between age 13 and 14. (Feldman 2008, p.373-4) On the other hand, we can say that puberty is a stage after childhood and before adulthood. Also, puberty is about mental and physical changes that takes place in a teenagers’ body.
Puberty is interpreted by the cognitive theory by using tools that examine the sources of understanding. The cognitive theory deals with developmental stages that lead and help people to have the ability to think, to know and to understand the world and its surroundings. The father of the cognition theory, Jean Piaget (1896-1980), recommended that the quantity of information increases in each stage and quality of knowledge and understanding change from stage to stage. These human stages are organized as a mental guide that correspond to humanistic behavior and actions that take place. In his assimilation process, Piaget says teenagers assume more responsibilities and engage in serious relationships with people of the opposite sex. This stage, helps us understand and stipulate our cognitive development (Feldman 2008, p.20)
For example, when I was about 13 years old, I felt the drastic changes in my body. My voice started to get deep, I felt more mature and a sense of establishing my own personal views and objectives. I had the desire to assume more responsibilities due to my hormonal changes, as first born, than I used to. I remember asking my father,’’ Why are my nipples hurting?’’ I became even more scared of the transition of having facial and pubic hair added. I started to feel that I was no longer a boy, so I started to behave like a man. My father was there prompting me of all the changes that I would experience being helpful to answer any questions to the concerns of my fears. In my culture, parents stress talking to teens about the changes with their bodies. Usually, the men mentor the boys and the women direct the girls. Being confident and happy for who you are becoming is very important. Respecting the elderly, parents, teachers, and making sure that you grow up prosperous with dignity starts at home. During the teenage years it is very crucial to have a position to engage in education and to be skillful because puberty is a process to early adulthood and those changes reflect who you are as an adult. Family is very important and to set a good example to siblings. Helping my family when they need me most gives me stability, and a purpose because I know they are going to be there for me as well. Believing and trusting in God, my Faith, as my parents and great grand parents did. Learning to cherish my home, develop the traditional land that I inherited from my parents and fore fathers, and to respect all and obey the laws, to treat others as I would like to be treated is what I have learned during the advancement of adulthood. Keeping the traditions that I inherited from my parents is a rite of passage for me, as well as, passing these and many other values to my offspring.
On the other hand, puberty in the evolutionary theory has played a big role interpretation my puberty process. I’m African (Tanzanian) my culture, norms, customs, taboos and mannerism are of essence in my life. I learn all these through my parents and extended family members, because that is the way of life that I was living, my values. This theory requires me to identify my behaviors from my parents and family members as they also inherited them from my fore-parents. As father of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin stated that this theory is “a process of natural selection that creates traits in a species that are adaptive to its environment”. (Feldman 2008, p.26) This is very vivid to the African cultures, because they automatically become abiding norms and customs that identify one’s culture, decision making and personal identity.
For example, if I was not born and grew up in Tanzania there is no way I could ever understand why I should believe and abide by my culture as I’m. Because my genetic inheritance from my forefathers gave me the physical traits, personality traits and social behaviors that I have, therefore they have influence in my life. It is a must for boys and girls at puberty (teenage) to be taught values and ways of life in my tradition, though that since birth we are automatically abide and taught these values.
- Feldman, R. S. (2008). Development across the life span. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Pearson Prentice Hall.