Development is a step by step process and is attained through a series of stages. For it to be effectively achieved, every stage is considered important. One cannot bypass any level and be effectively developed. Mead’s theory points out that social behavior is advancing after birth and is not inborn. It comes with the social experiences a child encounters at different stages of growth. Mead argues that in order for one to engage with the ‘self’ process, one must view himself from other’s perspectives (Joas et al., 2016). Using other people’s perspectives to view the world helps a child become aware of the world around them.
The first level of development according to Mead is the preparatory stage. He suggests that at this particular stage, the child being extremely young and hungry for knowledge, they tend to mimic everything that happens in their environment (Rosenberg, 2019). The people around them play a big role in what they learn and copy. This is actually true according to different observations of children development and growth. Children turn out to have characteristics and persona of their caregivers. Then language and use of words are also similar to those of the people around them. In a scenario where the caregivers of a child use foul language, the child will also be found doing exactly the same thing. They often do this without actually understanding what they are doing or the effects of the same. The reason is that are only copying what they have seen or have heard. This works because they are still extremely young in the ages below two. Therefore, whether what they do is bad or not, they are not apologetic about it because they have no understanding of it.
Play stage succeeds the preparatory stage in a child’s development. At this stage, they are more independent and play games with rules they come up with. Children at this level are actually very experimenting and are eager to understand new things. A number of them play games where they act to occupy roles of significant people in their life (Rosenberg, 2019). For example, you find them pretending to be their moms and dads. They play roles that they have seen their parents play. It is also seen when they are holding their toys, girls may hold their dolls just like a baby would be held. Or one would take a phone call using their toy just as they saw their dad did it.
A child beyond the age of eight enters the game stage. They gain understanding and have focus on adhering to specific rules of games. They can recognize the perspective of others and can also give theirs (Puddephatt, 2017). Their actions are much more sober and intentional compared to those who are younger than they are. I noted that when playing soccer, eight-year-olds have a better understanding of the rules of the game and play in line with them. On the other hand, the excitement of the others is more on scoring and does not pay much attention to other aspects that guide the game. Also, a child can be found in different roles and he can identify how these roles are interrelated. This is evident in the way they can understand how domestic chores are performed, who and why takes certain responsibilities.
In conclusion, it is clear that a child engages himself in specific activities in order to be aware and develop socially. This engaging enables them to be responsive to different situations and environments. Their imagination is now built through having used the perspective of others to understand themselves. Development will therefore only happen when there is an exposure to interaction and engagement with other people. This makes a child come to the realization of different capabilities they have making them want to explore the world around.
Joas, H., & Huebner, D. R. (Eds.). (2016). The timeliness of George Herbert Mead. University of Chicago Press.
Puddephatt, A. J. (2017). George Herbert Mead. In The interactionist imagination (pp. 95-119). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Rosenberg, D. (2019). Antecedents of physical literacy: George Herbert Mead and the genesis of the self in play and games. Quest, 71(4), 463-478. Web.