The Family And The Unification Church Edited by Gene G. James

Relations in Progress: Paradigm for Education and the Family - Diana Muxworthy Feige


How many of us have ever sat on park benches watching and idealizing what seems to be the simple, joyful play of a few children? We sit there wondering what it would be like to return to that innocence and apparent simplicity of life -- would it not be wonderful, we think and fantasize. Even scripture reminds us that "unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:13). "Those were the days, my friends, we thought they'd never end." Fantasies ripple by and we long to play as the children play.

Yet, when some of us leave those park benches and go into the halls of academia, an examination of that simplicity of childhood takes on new, more complex forms. Under the dissecting microscope of the academic, the bubble bursts. What seems so simple and spontaneous suddenly, with some initial regret and apprehension, appears to be quite complicated and not so spontaneous, not so innocent. Peter Laslett (The World We Have Lost) and Philippe Aries (Centuries of Childhood) have pointed to the complex matrix of childhood experiences. The authors of All Our Children express surprise at the traditional myopic understanding of the context in which children grow:

Some traditional American views, we conclude, severely hamper our national efforts to help children and parents. They obscure the 'ecology of childhood' [my emphasis] -- the overall social and economic system that exerts a crucial influence on what happens to parents and children (Keniston, 1977: xiii).

And Dr. Clarissa Atkinson in a recently published article "American Families and 'The American Family': Myths and Realities," notes that "myths about family are as complicated, ambiguous, and significant as myths about God -- and very closely related" (Atkinson, 1981: 11). The most powerful myth is that of a Fall -- the fall of that once wonderfully stable and Eden-like American family:

It may be comforting to believe that there was a time when personal lives and family relationships were stable, but the fact is that we cannot locate such a time in the past any more than we can in the present (Atkinson, 1981: 11).

All of this is to say that it is not easy to be a child. For all the fantasizing and idealizing that we would like to do, upon closer examination it becomes necessary to understand the "ecology of childhood," the complex, heavily organized world into which a child is born and through which it will quickly learn how to behave.

This paper is about this social organization of behavior -- specifically, the social organization of family life. It is about theories that describe this organization, their contribution to what Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy (borrowing from Thomas Kuhn's The History of Scientific Revolutions) has called an emerging paradigm shift, and Unification thought's relationship to these theories and paradigm shift. Believing that paradigms, as "frameworks of thought," "scheme(s) for understanding and explaining certain aspects of reality" (Ferguson, 1980: 26), not only permit us to think, but also frame how and what we think, and how we experience the world, I write this paper in the hope that it may help us envision, think, talk, experience, and construct family life in more fulfilling ways.

The Social Organization of Behavior

It is always exciting to me to find that the thinking and experiences of different persons are related -- one, then, becomes the complement of the other. Nancy Friday's story (My Mother/My Self), for example, is not so different from Lois Hood, Ray McDermott and Michael Cole's telling of Adam's story (" 'Let's Try To Make It A Good Day' -- Some Not So Simple Ways"). And L.S. Vygotsky's explanation of the dependence of psychological processes on social interaction (Mind in Society) is a fine complement to Hood, et al's formulation of a psychology of person-environment interactions. Each in his/her own way tries to understand the dynamic inter-play between the individual and society; each wants to understand what happened to make us what we are.

Nancy Friday begins her story with the confession that she always lied to her mother, as her mother always lied to her:

How young was I when I learned her language, to call things by other names? Five, four -- younger? Her denial of whatever she could not tell me, that her mother could not tell her, and about which society enjoined us both to keep silent, distorts our relationship still (Friday, 1977: 19).

'Adam's story is that of a Manhattan school child who has been tested, diagnosed, and labeled as having a "specific learning disability" (Hood, 1981: 158). It is the story of a young boy's attempt "to make it a good day." It is also an "account of why the good of Adam's day sounds so tenuous, how he tried so hard in the face of this, the consequences of this trying, and all the trying by the other children and adults that make up Adam's environment from one moment to the next" -- an account of "how Adam's disabilities are socially organized" (Hood, 1981: 155-56, 159).

Already one sees the juxtaposition of personal life stories with theoretical explanations of their occurrences and outcomes. For Vygotsky's, Friday's and Adam's stories are more than just one person's story. Their stories are an integral part of every person's development, a process of internalization, "the internal reconstruction of an external operation" (Vygotsky, 1978: 56). This "internalization of socially rooted and historically developed activities is the distinguishing feature of human psychology" (Vygotsky, 1978: 57). It is what distinguishes the human from the animal. Furthermore, "human learning presupposes a specific social nature [my emphasis] and a process by which children grow into the intellectual life of those around them" (Vygotsky, 1978: 88).

This process translates all that is interpersonal into that which is intrapersonal:

Every function in the child's cultural development appears twice; first, on the social level, and later on, on the individual level; first, between people (interpsychological), and then inside the child (intrapsychological) (Vygotsky, 1978: 57).

Psychological processes, to summarize Hood, et al., are therefore developmental, dynamic, continuously undergoing change, and socially embedded. And for Vygotsky, what happens socially on the outside organizes the person on the inside.

Finding it unnecessary to "postulate internalization in order to describe (the) children's behavior," Hood, et al., build upon Vygotsky's emphasis on developmental, socially embedded processes to begin constructing what they call a psychology of person-environment interactions. They write:

While internalization may be a proper gloss on what people become more able to do as they grow from infancy to adulthood, our data show that in interpersonal situations most psychological functions remain to a large extent in the interpersonal level.

We seek to build on Vygotsky's work by emphasizing the ways in which psychological processes constantly undergo change, and are actively maintained, as a function of ever-changing socio-environmental circumstances (Hood, 1981: 157-58).

In this context, then, Adam's story (and probably Friday's) is the story that everyone in Adam's environment constructs together. His "disability" is everybody's disability in the sense that they all cooperate, collaborate in creating, manifesting, and maintaining Adam's "failure."

Consequently, the question "why is Adam a failure?" needs to be drastically revised. In Albert Scheflen's perspective (interaction analyst), the "why" ought to be converted into a "how" -- the meaning of a behavior being found in the relation between the behavior and its context. "We gain this information," he explains, "from perceiving the structure of behavior -- from perceiving the composition of its elements, qualities, and cues in a system of relationships, programs, and institutions" (Scheflen, 1974: 181). We understand how behavior means by immersing ourselves in a "context analysis" which preserves the wholeness of events and recognizes the complex networks of reciprocal relationships that are negotiated in any communication (Kendon, 1979: 69). What is studied is "always a relationship or an infinite regress of relationships. Never a 'thing'" (Bateson, 1972: 246).

Thus, a perception of human communication emerges "in which people are seen as participants in complex systems of behavioral relationships instead of as isolated senders and receivers..." (Kendon, 1979: 69). The assumptions are that: "(1) the process of communication is a continuous one... (2) the behavior of people in face-to-face interaction is functioning in systems of reciprocal relation... (3) since all behavior is always a possible source of information, we cannot, at the outset of an investigation, exclude any aspect of behavior from the possibility that it may be functional in the communicative system" (Kendon, 1979: 71). Hence, the title "context analysis" -- a vision of communication (and behavior) that perceives the "circularity of communication patterns" (Watzlawick, et al., 1967: 46), that insists on studying interactions in context, that holds the "behavioral relationship" (Kendon, 1979: 67) as the focus of analysis.

Given Vygotsky's idea of social embeddedness that all higher functions originate as actual relations between human individuals, Hood's and McDermott's idea of the social organization of behavior as contexts for learning, and Scheflen's perception of communication as negotiated processes of information gaining reciprocal relations, the question "Why is Adam a failure?" is rephrased to read "How does Adam's behavior come to be, mean what it is?" These perspectives inform us that in order to ask the right questions one has to take into consideration where the answers are going to be found; asking the right questions is as, if not more, important as finding the right answers. The question is rephrased and the locus of attention shifted. With the new question, Adam's "disability" is not to be located simply inside Adam's head, the result of some completely personal, private perversity. It is, rather, "to be found and described as part of the contexts in which the disability(s) is made manifest to the people who notice it, suffer with it, and try to repair it" (Hood, 1981: 159). It is a shared phenomenon:

Adam's learning disability is as much in the world as in his head, not just in the sense that the world is passively there as a medium of expression for the disability, but because the world can be described as a field of forces which organize Adam as a display board for the weaknesses of the system in which he is immersed (Hood, 1981: 159).

New questions subsequently emerge which are more sensitive to the complexity of contextual relations. For example: What is Adam's task environment?, How do Adam and his friends, parents, teachers, etc., deal with his "problem"? and, more specifically, How are Adam's "failures" noticed? Answers to these questions, from the above perspectives, would need to take into account, finally, what Mc-Dermott has called the way the participants '"make sense' of each other and hold each other accountable, given the resources and limits of their community" (McDermott, 1977: 198). The scenario is that of a dynamic dance, each participant defining, creating, maintaining the tempo, rhythm, form of the dance.

The Zone of Proximal Development: Its General Description and Implications for an Understanding of Family General Description

The preceeding discussion serves as prelude to a discussion of what Vygotsky called the zone of proximal development. According to him every child embraces two developmental levels -- the actual developmental level and the potential developmental level. The first is that "level of development of a child's mental functions that has been established as a result of certain already completed developmental cycles" (Vygotsky, 1978: 85). An example would be what a child has scored on a math quiz. The latter is that which the child exhibits when s/he is aided by an adult, that which s/he latently holds waiting for guidance in order to come into fruition. The zone of proximal development is the difference between these two:

It is the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.

It is that which

defines those functions that have not yet matured but are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow, but are currently in an embryonic state (Vygotsky, 1978: 86).

In other words, the zone of proximal development defines that which is still a "bud," rather than a "fruit" of development. It "characterizes mental development prospectively" (Vygotsky, 1978: 86-87), inviting in the educator and others a sensitivity for what the child potentially holds, his/her emerging capabilities:

The mere exposure of students to new materials through oral lectures neither allows for adult guidance nor for collaboration with peers. To implement the concept of the zone of proximal development in instruction, psychologists and educators must collaborate in the analysis of the internal('subterranean') developmental processes which are stimulated by teaching and which are needed for subsequent learning (Vygotsky, 1978: 131).

Implications for an Understanding of Family

I am again excited to find a marvelous integration of ideas taking place. What I see as I read Vygotsky, Hood, McDermott, Scheflen, etc., is a series of connections, a series of wonderful "aha" moments that connect now with still another body of literature. This new integration marries thinking about socially organized zones of proximal development with that of families as educative systems.

If it is true that "properly organized learning" can stimulate development that would otherwise go unnoticed, then it follows that the task of the educator is to nurture this zone of proximal development. I propose that Vygotsky's suggestions for the classroom be taken as equally applicable to the family. It is possible, for instance, to substitute "the family" in the following sentences for Vygotsky's reference to learning and teaching. The substitution makes an interesting matching of ideas:

an essential feature of learning (the family) is that it creates the zone of proximal development; that is, learning (the family) awakens a variety of internal developmental processes that are able to operate only when the child is interacting with people in his environment and in cooperation 'with peers (Vygotsky, 1978: 90).

teaching (the family) represents the means through which development is advanced; that is, the socially elaborated contents of human knowledge and the cognitive strategies necessary for their internalization are evoked in the learners (children) according to their 'actual developmental levels' (Vygotsky, 1978: 131).

This substitution implies that Vygotsky's assumptions about learning, teaching and the zone of proximal development may also apply to the theme of the family as educator. The overarching thesis is, simply, that '"good learning' is that which is in advance of development" (Vygotsky, 1978: 89) -- thus, the attention of the educator is on what the child does only to the extent this points to what the child can do. These potentials, in turn, mature only in relation to an external social environment. Some of the assumptions to which this thesis leads are: (1) focus is on interaction, specifically the individual-in-interaction (on what the individual can do, both when alone and with the assistance of others -- that which is done alone successfully is used as a sign for what can be done with assistance), (2) stress is thus given to context, (3) importance is also given to process, how education is organized, not only what education is organized; and (4) attention is on the process of transformation, it being necessary for the educator to be sensitive, flexible, open to change, growth, to invite the child to educate him/her, to inform him/her of the next step.

To propose that the family is to serve as a zone of proximal development is to propose that family interaction be seen as a contributor to the quality of the context that affects development. As Lawrence Cremin in Public Educator has pointed out, the family is not the only factor in the "ecology of education," but it is certainly an important member of the "configurations of education" that mold our lives (Cremin, 1976: 27-53). The family is both a physical context and a state of mind, a social environment and an orientation. It is a context, outer and inner, that may provide all its members with a supportive network of interactions that is sensitive to the latent capabilities of individuals. It is a context where individuals interact and in that interaction inform one another, organize one another to "do" *family. And in the "doing," education proceeds.

Hope Leichter and Lawrence Cremin's articles in The Family as Educator and Families and Communities as Educators are helpful in explaining how this occurs. Cremin defines education as the "deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to transmit, evoke, or acquire knowledge, attitudes, values, skills, or sensibilities, and any learning that results from the effort, direct or indirect, intended or unintended" (Cremin, 1979: 137). Inherent in such a definition is a vision of an educational process that proceeds across a host of individuals and institutions. This definition also clearly focuses attention on the relationships among several educative institutions and on the effects of one institution's efforts on those of another" (Cremin, 1979: 137). Thus, the focus is on what he calls "linkages," the connections, integrations, the dance that takes place among the varied institutions that educate.

Leichter uses this definition to help her in thinking about the family as an educative system. She takes this to "include not only deliberate processes but also those processes that are at the margins of awareness" (Leichter, 1979: 5). Seen in this light, education is a "lifelong process that may take place in a variety of settings and that needs to be understood as it takes place in each of these settings" (Leichter, 1979: 6). It is a process that takes place on multiple levels simultaneously. "Both the content of learning and instruction and the process of learning and instruction must be understood. Of particular importance are the processes of learning to learn, or what has been called deutero-learning or meta-learning" (Leichter, 1979: 6). Furthermore, education is a process in which affective and cognitive learning are intertwined in each and every setting. "One cannot presume, for example, that affective learning takes place at home and cognitive learning in the school. On the contrary, both aspects must be understood in both settings" (Leichter, 1979: 6).

The conception of education is again one that is dynamic, recognizing the rich interchanges which take place across and within educative institutions. This dynamism may appear never ending, impossible to handle scientifically. Leichter therefore suggests several approaches to research. These include the concept of the family as an educative system and the process oriented approach to the study of the family.

The key words are system and process. These ought to come as no surprise for they have been so much a part of the previous discussion. System is used here simply to refer to the idea that "in a system of interdependent parts, a change in any one relationship will have an effect on all other relationships" (Leichter, 1979: 18). The emphasis is on connections, relationships, interdependencies, reciprocating influences:

If one applies this image to thinking about the family's relationship to other institutions that educate, it suggests that it is not sufficient merely to look at the family's values as compared with the school's values at a given moment in time; one might look rather at the way in which communication between family and school serves to modify the values and perspectives of each (Leichter, 1979: 21).

The family is an open system, a system with permeable, not closed boundaries. Thus the heavy emphasis on the family-in-relationship, both from the point of view of the relationships within the family and between the family and other educative institutions. Thus also the heavy emphasis on "contextual rigor":

that is, the rigor that derives from placing the analysis of specific relationships in the context of other significant relationships and influences and in the process considering the cross-pressures that stem both from within the family and from without (Leichter, 1974: 25).

The model is one in which grandparents educate parents who in turn educate grandparents, etc. Sister educates brother who educates sister who educates brother, and so forth. The family influences the school which in turn influences the family. The family-school configuration influences the church which in turn influences the family-school configuration. There is no direct, linear cause and effect relationship. It is, as Watzlawick states, a circular pattern of relationships, each a beginning and an end, continuously in motion, in process, in transformation. Incorporating Hood's, McDermott's and Scheflen's thinking, we may say that it is a vision of the family organizing the individual who in turn organizes the family. R.D. Laing puts forth a similar idea when he writes: "The family may be imagined as a web, a flower, a tomb, a prison, a castle. Self may be more aware of an image of the family than of the family itself, and map images onto the family" (Laing, 1972: 6). And, Hood and others would add that the family continues this process by mapping images onto the individual -- each reciprocally organizing the other.

This model of the family requires a particular approach to research. It needs an approach which is like a vision, a particular perspective, or lense through which to observe its subject. It needs an approach which sees wholeness and not separate, independent entities. Its sensitivity must be toward relationships-in-process, "the shifting character of interactions throughout the life cycle," "the continuous process of change and development within the family, both for adults and for children" (Leichter, 1974: 27, 43). Its focus, therefore, is not on outcomes, but rather on process -- "the moment-to-moment processes of education within the family and... the more general processes by which the family mediates educational experiences elsewhere" (Leichter, 1974: 29-30).

Concerned with the educational interactions occurring within the family, this approach might incorporate the following agendas in its research: "language interaction within the family," "the organization of activity in space and time," "memory as an interactive process," and "the processes of evaluating and labeling" (Leichter, 1974: 31-39). Each of these agendas would provide a description of how the family mediates educational experiences, i.e., how the "family members translate and interpret educational experiences for one another" (Leichter, 1974: 40). Each would be a part of the scheme developed by Hood, et al., McDermott, and Scheflen, for each would describe the ways in which family members inform one another of who they -- the individual and the family -- are and in so doing, mutually construct environments in which to grow (or not grow). As such, the family may serve as a zone of proximal development, as an educative system.

Emerging Paradigms: Brief Description and a Coming Home for Unification Thinking

Brief Description

Until now I have been presenting some current models of family and education theory, focusing primarily on showing their underlying connections. I shall now briefly summarize the recurring themes I have pointed out and then put them in the context of Marilyn Ferguson's encouraging thoughts on "learning the emergent paradigm" (Ferguson, 1980: Chap. 9).

The threads which have been woven together are these: (1) from Vygotsky we noted the importance of social environment on development, the emphasis on the social birthing of potential; (2) from Hood, et al., McDermott, and Scheflen we derived a psychology of person-environment interactions, a view of development that stresses the importance of understanding behavior in context, within the network of events, relationships in which it is manifested and maintained; and (3) from the Cremin, Leichter dyad we begin to see the function that the family serves as one such dynamic, interdependent, organizing network. The shared notions (regardless of differences) are those of interaction (the individual-in-interaction, the-family-in-interaction), relationship, interdependency, connection, linkage, configuration, context, circularity, development, change, transformation and process.

The scenario they weave is one of relations-in-process, a perspective that nicely complements Ferguson's description of the differences between the "old paradigm of education" and the "new paradigm of learning" (Ferguson, 1980: 289-91). The old paradigm focuses on content, "acquiring a 'right' body of information, once and for all," on learning as a product, or "destination," and on the "one-way-street" of teacher instructing student (Ferguson, 1980: 289-91). The old paradigm understands learning to be a series of "methods of instructions... teachers, literacy, math, grades, achievements" (Ferguson, 1980: 288). It emphasizes the external world, considering inner experiences "inappropriate in... [a] school setting" (Ferguson, 1980: 289).

The new paradigm looks, instead, to the nature of learning, "the processes by which we have moved every step of the way since we first breathed" (Ferguson, 1980: 288). It focuses on "learning how to learn, how to ask good questions... and be open to and evaluate new concepts..." (Ferguson, 1980: 289). Hence it stresses context over content and emphasizes learning as a process, a journey in which the teacher learns from the student. "Learning," in this perspective, "is transforming." "Think of the learner as an open system -- a dissipative structure,... interacting with the environment, integrating it, using it" (Ferguson, 1980: 291). The hope is for a "transpersonal education" that recognizes the "transcendent capacities of human beings," that "celebrates the individual and society, freedom and responsibility, uniqueness and interdependence, mystery and clarity, tradition and innovation. It is complementary, paradoxical, dynamic" (Ferguson, 1980: 288). Without needing to regurgitate "right answers" as the only evidence of a good education, the individual-in-transformation is challenged to explore his/her inner and transcendent powers, to be a learner, transformer for a "new world" (Ferguson, 1980: 285-91).

Coming Home: The Family and Unification Thinking

By now the reader is likely to be saying to him/herself "I've heard that before." For me, as a Unificationist wanting to better understand her community's thinking and actions, the reading of these themes is a coming home, a feeling of "they are playing my song." The themes are not merely repetitious lyrics -- they complement one another and, better yet, provide me with a context for understanding Unification thought and praxis. My experience is similar to that of Harve Varenne during his ethnographic studies of an American town: "It dawned on me that I was living a sort of improvised baroque concerto with various instruments playing the theme and answering each other" (Varenne, 1977: 9).

Most importantly, the discussions of the social organization of behavior, zones of proximal developments, families as educative systems, and learning as transformation provide a framework, a paradigm, for comprehending what families and education are about. They are like eye glasses that we put on in order to see, experience the world, lyrics we use to sing our songs, themes we create to play our concertos; through them we envision and, thus, organize our lives. A paradigm shift involves a con-version -- a willingness and ability to see in new ways. What these theories and Unificationism offer, I suggest, is a paradigm shift, a way of looking at and experiencing the world and, for our purposes here, a particular way of perceiving and experiencing family.

My intention in this final section, then, is to describe how a Unificationist (or, at least, how I as a Unificationist) thinks about the family. My contention is that how we think affects what we think which in turn affects our experiencing of the world. I shall begin by describing the paradigm a Unificationist uses to envision and experience family life.

If one spends any amount of time within a Unification environment there are certain themes -- ways of thinking -- which one notes keep emerging. These themes are in the written and oral tradition: Divine Principle speaks of them, Rev. Moon speaks of them, the members speak of them in their daily conversations and use them for making important decisions for their life. They are constructs that are not so different from those already presented here.

First and foremost, there appears a relational kind of thinking. Every thing, every person, every event is thought of in relation to some other thing, person, event in space and time. Thinking is strongly contextual, both in terms of placing moments in relation to some historical event of the past or event yet to come, and in terms of recognizing that one's actions affect others. The individual is embedded in the family, the family is embedded in society, society in the world, the world in the cosmos. The model is one of circular chains of interconnections, stimulating and responding to one another: "Without give and take action, no being or thing can exist, act, and multiply" (Divine Principle Study Guide, 1973: 18).

Thus it comes as no surprise to hear that "no man is an island." The con-version that takes place in accepting the Unification paradigm is one that involves recognizing (maybe first intellectually and then experientially) what David Spangler of the Findhorn community has aptly called our "intrinsic relatedness" -- our inborn relatedness to each other, the buds and the trees, the past, the present, and, especially, to God. And the family is crucial to Unification thinking and life precisely because of this recognition.

The family is the place -- again, both physically and otherwise -- wherein this relatedness and embeddedness is first experienced. Rev. Moon has called it "God's universal textbook" (Moon, 1982: 9); Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak has described it as the "fundamental foundation for the fulfillment of God's love on earth" (Kwak, 1982: 15); Dr. Moses Durst has called it "God's university" (Address at Unification Church Wedding, 1982). They have given the family such eminence because it is conceived of as that place, that network, wherein we each discover our God-given relatedness to everyone, everything, to God Him/Herself. It is a primary context in which we discover our selves by discovering our ability to share in this relatedness; it is a primary network in which our character, "growth of the heart," (Lee, 1975: 14) matures in its ability to think, feel with God, humanity, and the creation.

This emphasis on the individual-in-relationship, the family-in-relationship, brings with it a sensitivity to the importance of context. As important as the family may be, it is also understood to be a part of the larger configuration of educative systems. Thus the recent emphasis on "home church as the base of the kingdom of heaven" (motto for the church for 1979). Every Unificationist knows that, at one point or another, his/her family, ideally is to settle into a community and serve that community as wholeheartedly as possible. To not do this is to deny one of the basic principles of creation -- our intrinsic relationships and shared responsibilities. To do this is to find freedom in fulfilling these basic laws. Our wedding vows remind us of this:

Would you pledge to observe heavenly law as an original man and woman, and should you fail, pledge to take responsibility for that?

Would you, as an ideal husband and wife, pledge to establish an eternal family with which God can be happy?

Would you pledge to inherit heavenly tradition and, as the eternal parents of goodness, raise up your children to be examples of this standard before the family and world?

Would you pledge to be the center of love before the society, nation, world, and universe based upon the ideal family?

The church logo on our wedding bands, representing the reciprocating dynamics of the principles of creation, daily remind us of this.

"Social relations," as in the views of Vygotsky, Hood, McDermott, Scheflen, and Leichter are, therefore, the essential, primary, "contexts for learning." Our "social embeddedness" becomes our joy and our curse. Well organized, appropriately oriented, it can nurture the "original nature" of every person; badly organized, poorly directed, as in Adam's case, it can inhibit, malform this potential. And nowhere along the way should any Unificationist, poignantly aware of this embeddedness, find blame in the "perversity" of any one individual or group of individuals. Adam figures will emerge in our communities and it will be our responsibility, with our paradigm of circular interconnections, to not blame Adam or his parents for his "failure." It will be our responsibility to note the complexity of his environment and work to help reorganize it. And if that is not possible, at least to be careful of not laying blame where it cannot be laid.

This requires, as in any con-version or paradigm shift, the wearing of a new pair of lenses -- lenses, as in Leichter's model, that sees wholes and not parts, connections and not separations, or as in Bateson's theory that sees "relationship or an infinite regress of relationships. Never a 'thing'" (Bateson, 1972: 246). And it is also a con-version, grounded in the principles of creation, that is patient with regard to time, sensitive to process. All growth, these principles state, happens relationally and through time. The body grows automatically under healthy conditions and the spirit or heart grows also when the individual attends to his/her responsibility for being-in-relationship.

Growth, physical and spiritual, occurs in stages:

Every being needs time to reach a state of maturity or perfection (D.P. Study Guide, 1973: 37).

Man is meant to fulfill God's love throughout his life. First, before marriage, or before blessing, each brother and sister needs to experience the fulfillment of God's parental love. Second, we need to experience the fulfillment of the love between husband and wife. And, thirdly, we need to experience the fulfillment of children's love in our lifetime (Kwak, 1980: 15).

The "growth period" is that time during which we take responsibility for fulfilling our potentials, educating our character ("growth of heart"), our goodness (loving service to humanity), and genius (perfection of our inborn creativity) (Lee, 1975: 7-8, 14-17). Growth is a transformative process, requiring the patience and attention of every family member, every person-in-relation with the family, no matter how wide the network might be.

Thus, families are learning environments, loci for learners-intransformation. Stagnation is troublesome. As "open systems," family members grow in relation to each other and in service to the world around them, relationally and developmentally. This point of view is similar to the ''transformational worldview" that Jack Drach (1982: 2) presents in contrast to what he considers the "prevailing worldview":

Transformational Worldview:

Life is a matter of contributing, through myself and others, to the universe. Therefore, in that service, I must realize my fullest potential of body, mind, and spirit.

I am unique, but I am also one with the human species. Therefore, the degree which I can successfully connect my full potential to the potentials of other human beings in the service of the universe is the measure of my success.

Prevailing Worldview:

Life is a matter of survival in a hostile environment. Therefore, I must produce food, property and children to enhance my security.

Other human beings are separate from me. Therefore, I must compete with them for the power that assures my security...

To say that from a Unification perspective the family serves as a zone of proximal development is to add a dimension to the idea of proximal development which I am not sure Vygotsky would wish to include. This is the dimension of spirit, which Ferguson and Drach also mention. Unificationism speaks of spirit and "original nature." The latter may be briefly described as the "true character of man created by God" (Lee, 1973: 128), that part of the human being that is "seeking God and thus to attain the purpose of goodness" (D.P. Study Guide, 1973: 5). This is to say, then, that in Unification thinking the family may serve not only as a zone of proximal intellectual, psychological development, but also as a zone of proximal spiritual development. W e are not only socially embedded, as Vygotsky apparently believes, but are also, as the Aquarian Conspiracy suggests, "embedded in nature" (Ferguson, 1980: 29) and in addition in a spiritual reality transcendent of nature.


* I borrow this phrase from Charles O. Frake, Language and Cultural Description (Stanford. Cal.: Stanford Univ. Press, 1980).


Atkinson, Clarissa. "American Families and 'The American Family': Myths and Realities." Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Dec. 1981.

Bateson, Gregory. Steps to an Ecology of Mind. New York: Ballantine Books, 1972. Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity. New York: Bantam Books, 1980.

Cole, Michael. "The Zone of Proximal Development: Where Culture and Cognition Create Each Other." Published in a journal for the Center for Human Intormation Processing, La Jolla, Calif, 1981.

Cremin, Lawrence. Public Education. New York: Basic Books, 1976. "Family-Community Linkages in American Education: Some Comments on the Recent Histography." In Families and Communities as Educators. Ed. Hope Leichter. New York: Teachers College Press, 1979.

Divine Principle Study Guide. New York: Holy Spirit Assn. for the Unif. of World Christianity, 1973.

Drach, Jack. "Report." Association for Humanistic Psychology Newsletter, July, p. 325. As quoted by Marilyn Ferguson. "Transformational Worldview." Leading Edge Bulletin 3, no. 1 (August 1982).

Ferguson, Marilyn. The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980's. Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, Inc., 1980.

Friday, Nancy. My Mother/My Self. New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1967.

Hood, Lois, Ray McDermott, and Michael Cole. '"Let's Try to Make It a Good Day' -- Some Not So Simple Ways." Paper prepared for a conference at the Center for Psychosocial Studies, Sept. 1981.

Kendon, Adam. "Some Theoretical and Methodological Aspects of the Use of Film in the Study of Social Interaction." In Emerging Strategies in Social and Psychological Research. Ed. G.W. Ginsberg. New York: John Wiley Press, 1979.

Keniston, Kenneth and the Carnegie Council on Children. All Our Children. The American Family Under Pressure. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1977. Kwak, Chung Hwan. "Ideal Family." The Blessing Quarterly, Autumn 1981.

Laing, R.D. The Politics of the Family and Other Essays. New York: Vintage Books, 1972.

Lee, Sang Hun. Unification Thought. New York: Unification Thought Institute, 1973.

Leichter, Hope, "Some Perspectives on the Family as Educator." In The Family as Educator. Ed. Hope Leichter. New York: Teachers College Press, 1974. "Families and Communities as Educators: Some Concepts of Relationship." In Families and Communities as Educators. Ed. Hope Leichter. New York: Teachers College Press, 1979.

McDermott, Raymond P. "Social Relations as Contexts for Learning." Harvard Educational Review. 17, no. 2 (May 1977)., and David R. Roth, "The Social Organization of Behavior: Interactional Approaches." Annual Review of Anthropology 1 (1978). Moon, Sun Myung. "Blessed Family." Today's World, 3, no. 7 (July 1982).

Scheflen, Albert E. How Behavior Means. New York: Anchor, 1974.

Spangler, David. Lecture given for the Symposium on the Coevolution of Science and Spirit, New Dimensions of Consciousness, New York, 1978.

Varenne, Herve. Americans Together, Structured Diversity in a Midwestern Town. New York: Teachers College Press, 1977.

Vygotsky, L.S. Mindin Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1978.

Watzlawick, Paul, Janet Helmich Beavin, and Don D. Jackson, Pragmatics of Human Communication: A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies, Paradoxes. New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1967. 

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