As a child growing up fortunate enough to be raised by loving parents we all wonder about life and our purpose as we experience our day to day living. In discovering from our own personal experiences and challenges we encounter, we learn and try to understand how to adapt and accept what we are faced with. In our lives we will experience many things and will have many questions and we will rely on our parents a great deal as they are very influential in our lives and their responsibility is to help guide us and teach us so we can one day be responsible for ourselves and live our lives as our parents had hoped.
My views of life after childhood were always evolving and seemed to be influenced by the different stages we experience. I view our life evolving in 9 different stages where obviously we are always learning and growing through out and the stages are divided into periods of years. The early stages of our lives are directly influenced by our parents and they are actively involved in the first 5 stages of our life which are our infancy stage, our toddler stage, our childhood stage, our teenage stage and our early adulthood stage.
The first stage of our life, our infancy stage, starts when our parents joyfully welcome us into their world showering us with love and affection and nurturing us. We are just little babies completely dependent on our parents and without them we would not survive. As babies our parents take great care of us and we provide great joy to them with every little thing we do. This time for our parents can be a very stressful time as well because they need to always be in tune with our needs and we tend to cry a lot because that is how we communicate to our parents. From our birth to 2 years is a time of great significance because that is a very critical time in our survival as our parents are there for us and are attending to our needs round the clock.
We tend to sleep a lot during this time and that is when our parents can rest and try to relax as well. As we approach the 2 year mark we are approaching our toddler stage and that is from age 2 to 5 years old. During this time we are learning to respond more and to communicate verbally with our parents. When we are 1 – 3 years old we start to accomplish things and during this time our parents chart our progress and enjoy witnessing and experiencing our “firsts” and try to document them with photographs and video camera. From when we are infants through our toddler years is a time our parents capture our many moments on film and video which are fun to see as we grow.
Once we start crawling and eventually walking in addition to talking we are starting to experience our own independence as we now opt to get around on our own terms and prefer that as to being carried. We do find at times our parents have difficulty with this as they still will try to carry us or wheel us in the carriage or stroller on occasion and we will tend to fight this. Once we start walking and running we add more stress to our parents lives because now they find they have to chase after us so we don’t run off or get hurt. We have to be taught what we should and shouldn’t do and we seem to have a mind of our own.
As we reach age 5 years old we are now in our childhood stage and at this stage we start our schooling which initially is traumatic for both us and our mother’s because this is the first time we are separated from each other. Once we start our school years things start to settle down and we now find another avenue of learning and our social network starts to grow and expand. We start to think for ourselves and start to learn responsibility and how to relate with others and to appreciate our parents more. During our school years our parents also take responsibility in our progress and they are always making sure we are completing our assignments and progressing in school. They eventually meet with our teachers and discuss our progress.
As we attend school we will learn and grow and develop throughout and this is a time of great significance in our personal growth and development. We start to learn about ourselves during these years and our personality starts to take shape. It is very important that we learn to relate with others and make friends so we can have more experiences and develop more friendships. As we start school we are just kids and we learn effective communication. We learn our ABC’s in preschool and kindergarten and we learn to read and write in the first grade. As we progress in school we learn more and we start to gain confidence and knowledge. During the first eight years of school starting from pre-school through the sixth grade we are introduced to reading, writing, spelling, speech, language arts, math, science, religion, music, art and physical fitness.
These years prepare us for the next stage of our schooling and our lives, the 4th stage which is our teenage stage which is a difficult stage for both us and our parents. During this stage we start to go through physical changes in our lives as well as moving on to junior high school where we are exposed to several classes and teachers and new classmates. It is a fun time in our lives and also a stressful time with all the changes we experience. It is important at this time in our lives to try our best to fit in and get involved in activities in addition to being responsible for our school assignments and our academic success. We start to notice the opposite sex at this time and also try to maintain a healthy balance with our schoolwork and our social pursuits.
Our junior high and high school days provide many joys and many challenges and we are susceptible to peer group pressure and outside influences. As hard as our parents try to reign us in we make a lot of our own decisions at this time and we have to exercise proper judgement and common sense. We have to be responsible for ourselves and learn how to say no and respect others and learn to listen attentively and follow rules. These years are the training ground for our future and we need to realize that so we can mature into young responsible adults. The first real milestone in our lives is the completion of our high school education requirements which is something both our parents and we take great pride in accomplishing. Upon completion of our high school education we are awarded a high school diploma and we celebrate with a graduation ceremony which our parents and family attend to share in the joys of our hard work and accomplishments.
Upon our graduation from high school we are faced with many choices and are encouraged by our parents to attend college and we are now entering our young adulthood which is the 5th stage of our life and typically we are 18 years of age which is the age of consent. At this age we are eligible to vote and we are usually driving a car or learning how to. Our parents and or our guardians have been there for us throughout these years if we are fortunate enough and we have learned a great deal from them and our teachers and now we have to apply all we learned in our early adulthood and start to think and act for ourselves and be responsible for ourselves as we are now making very important life choices.
During these years if we decide to enter college, go off to the military, start a job or go to trade school we now are young adults each responsible for our choices and our actions and we still usually live at home with our parents as we now try to grow up and seek their advice. If we are fortunate enough to go on to college we will be learning in our next 4 years and will study a program that will enable us to embark on a career and start our life in the working world. We will seek a lot of encouragement and advice from our parents, teachers, counselors and friends during this time as we prepare ourselves for the future.
As I look back on these years in my life I realize how lucky I was and how loving and supportive my parents were to me in helping me grow into manhood and taking on responsibility and accomplishing goals I set for myself. I am so very happy as a husband, father, working professional and an advocate for my son in helping him grow and learn to adapt with his challenges posed by autism. I have learned so much through the years and got to spend many happy years with my parents and am so blessed today to have a family of my own.
I had the benefit of living the first 5 stages of my life with my parents and having their love, support and encouragement throughout.
I have also experienced the sadness of losing both my parents and I have cried my tears and felt very alone and very sad but have come to realize that losing loved ones is unfortunately a part of life we all have to experience and the reality is that we also have to come to terms with our own mortality and if we are lucky enough to marry and have children we will have to do our best in equipping them with the life lessons we learn because we will not be around forever so we have to teach them and provide them all we know and give them the same opportunities we were given because it is our duty and our responsibility to our children. We need to teach them, encourage them and show them the way.
I have experienced my early adulthood with my parents from age 18 through age 29 years old which I am truly grateful for. I lost my mother when I was age 29 and she was 50 years old. We lost her way too young. I have experienced marriage and fatherhood in my adulthood at age 37 years old and my interpretation of the adulthood stage which is the sixth stage is from age 30 through age 44. This is a time when we have had the benefit of experiencing a great deal in our life and are now providing for families of our own drawing upon the experiences we had as young children and young adults.
Currently I am in the seventh stage of my life which I consider middle age which is from age 45 through age 59 years old and I am enjoying my marriage, my son, my family life, my career as a professional CPA, my friends and my interests. I hope to experience additional stages in my life and see my son grow up and accomplish all his dreams and goals. I am so proud to be a father and I view my life and fatherhood as a true gift that is the best thing to happen to me. I have also experienced great sadness in this phase of my life as I lost my father when I was age 48 and my dad who is my hero was 73 years old. It is very sad to lose your parents as we cherish their memories and hold on to all the many precious moments and happy occasions.
The stages beyond middle age are the golden age stage which I interpret as age 60 through age 74 year old and old age which I interpret from age 75 years old onwards. In these stages we will encounter so many changes and hopefully will maintain our health and share in the joys of sharing these times with the people we love. Hopefully we will grow old with our spouse and we will see our children grow into mature responsible adults and see them enjoy success in their careers, marry and have children of their own.
The stages of life differ for all of us and we all hope to experience many of them and experience the many joys and successes that life offers. We also hope to get through the sad and difficult times of life as we all will experience as we get older. My main focus in life is my son and providing him all I can and help him every step of the way. I know he will have some struggles as he learns to cope with autism and epilepsy but we will never discourage him because he is quite capable of accomplishing all he sets out to and he will always be loved, supported and encouraged each and every day as he is and always will be our pride and joy and the center of our universe.
I dedicate this to both my parents, my wife, Maria and my son Matthew with all my love.
Edward D. Iannielli III