Passing of Edward Kennedy, Trans-generational Values, Maslow’s Hierarchy, Maturity in a Family Line – Part 4:

Finally, I want to bring in a point made in Part 1, paragraph 1: to my observation, “anything can be a model for anything else”. In my observation, “Trans-generational family maturing” shows up when familial generational patterns are measured using Maslow’s Hierarchy, justifying the model’s use in this measure, whether or not Maslow intended it. (Indeed, marketing uses the model in yet a 3rd way, as access to vulnerability in order to determine what to market, and how to sell it! But marketing stops somewhat short of the 5th level; it dare not ‘go there’.  At the 5th level, transcendent confidence fully replaces “need/experience of social vulnerability”, and is immune to the effects of advertising!)

I suggest the Kennedy family demonstrates something of Maslow’s description of individual maturing process. I suggest the family demonstrates “trans-generational” maturity from the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy to the pinnacle; from assuring physical survival to eventual dedication toward “overall societal good”.

From P.J. Kennedy’s stevedore work to keep family alive, to the public service, “common weal” goals of the generation now passing, the family follows the Maslow’s Hierarchy in a general way.

What’s the point, you may well ask! How does this observation about the Kennedy’s apply to anyone else, especially to those of us without ‘great wealth’ built into our family histories?

Good question. And I am not sure I have a universal answer! One general associated thought in my mind steps outside Maslow’s description. That is the “trait” of engaging in politics. The Kennedy family history keeps this thread running, with greater emphasis of Maslow’s level 5 by the time they get to the late 20th Century.

The Kennedy thread of political involvement is “their thing”. In my morning’s thinking, I have re-visited some personal family “trans-generational traits” of my own experience. My family has hints of political public service; is much more richly endowed with service through spiritual exploration, teaching, and farming.

If it is true that “the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children”, it is very likely true that the “positive, helpful” interests, traits of ones ancestral heritage also show up. (An argument obviously supported by the notion that a genuinely kind parent is likely to raise children who understand and practice kindness.)

It would take a separate essay to explore the curious threads of my own family’s “unfolding” – and to check “our” measure against Maslow’s Hierarchy.

My point in laying this thinking before you is to suggest that family heritage, family ‘threads’ are interesting. They can help each of us identify assorted levels of personal maturity/immaturity, and can help to explain curious “interests” that may not even show in our siblings. Chances are they exist in some form, in some family member, back there, somewhere.

Another point is to remind us that there is a ‘maturity’ that transcends ‘mundane concern.’ Whether or not heroic, courageous, choice arises from a well-cushioned material state is often irrelevant. Individuals are frequently observed by-passing “wealth” as a motivating factor and going straight to level 5 in choice of action. (For example, remarkable stories of one individual rescuing another from an oncoming subway train – there are a number of these, and other, stories of “sudden choice at level 5”.)

The distinction between ‘sudden level 5 choice’ and ‘general life orientation at level 5’ creates yet another discussion. The ‘sudden choice’ variety indicates each is born with innate capacity to behave in full altruistic mode. This brings up yet another question: How come we don’t all behave accordingly, more often, even much of the time?

My Best To All! – MaggieAnn (With apologies to any who have written at length about application of Maslow’s Hierarchy to trans-generational family maturing, or have written using the model to explore individual maturing ‘atop’ earlier generational concerns at lower levels. As a student of human development for many, many years, my thoughts emerge as much from observation and pondering as from reading. I lay claim to “like minded thinking”.)


About maggieannthoeni

A description once given of me was "rooted in the earth while roaming the stars" - and this has felt 'right'. I believe in something akin to this for each of us. I am a passionate supporter of discovering the autonomous self while serving the whole as primary intent. I believe in discovery of innate principles, clearing the overlay of socialization that obscures this from us. I believe it is our responsibility to leave no one behind - most particularly to respond to suffering as best we can whereever we find it, whenever we are made aware. I believe in this for the insect as well as the most magnificent form of humanity. I believe in brother/sisterhood without boundary. I believe in righteous indignation when it is appropriate, but do not believe in an enemy. I believe in consciousness, in intelligence, in logic, in rationality, in emotion, in transcendence - and am convinced until we generally practice explore and honor all this in ourselves, we remain profoundly immature. (I believe real maturity is known and practiced by many young children, and not enough adults!)
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