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Clark Kent, portrayed by actor Tom Welling in the TV series Smallville which depicts the life of Superman in his formative years, is a remarkable teenage guy who grew up in a farm in Smallville, Kansas with his loving foster parents Jonathan and Martha Kent. He literally came to earth when a meteor shower hit their small town and devastated lives and properties. The Kent’s found him after his spacecraft landed in the fields overturning their car. Being unable to make a family, the couple kept the boy Clark along with the truth of his strange arrival. They made Clark believe that they were his real parents in order to protect him and become a normal child. He spent all of his childhood days in their farm living happily with his parents who taught him values that made him a good human being and guided him every time his true nature unfolds.There was nothing much to talk about his childhood other than he became a very good and loving son following all what his parents has to say. As he grows up, his other abilities are showing up without knowing why he has them. His parents supported him all the way to secure him along with some good and trustworthy friends that made him feel a normal human being. However, having those superhuman abilities isolates Clark from the crowd making his social life limited to what his parents think can protect him and his true identity. It stops him from doing what he wants to do like playing football and being with the girl he loves. Clark is just a normal student in his school where the members of the football team usually take the spotlight. Although he wanted so much to relate with people in his school, his secret keeps him from interacting with these people afraid that they will reject him. When not helping his father in the farm, Clark spends most of his time alone in their barn where he usually gaze over the stars, read books and reflect on his uniqueness. His everyday encounter with meteor freaks in their town helps Clark to become more aware of his nature and more responsible in all of his action while still keeping his secret although his personal interests must be sacrificed.Discussion:Clark has learned through the ways of human beings. Although he came from a civilization with advanced technologies and knowledge, his cognitive development were just the same as a normal human being. This part of his ability does not involve his foreign origins. Based on Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, there are four periods of development. Period I is the period of Sensori-Motor Intelligence which ranges from birth to two years of age and consists of six stages. Period II, the period of Preoperational Thought, ranges from two to seven years of age. Period III, the period of Concrete Operations, ranges from seven to eleven years of age. Period IV, the period of Formal Operations, ranges from eleven years of age to adulthood.Piaget’s theory identifies four developmental stages and the processes by which children progress through them. The four stages are:Sensorimotor stage (birth – 2 years old)–The child, through physical interaction with his or her environment, builds a set of concepts about reality and how it works. This is the stage where a child does not know that physical objects remain in existence even when out of sight (object permanence).Preoperational stage (ages 2-7)–The child is not yet able to conceptualize abstractly and needs concrete physical situations.Concrete operations (ages 7-11)–As physical experience accumulates, the child starts to conceptualize, creating logical structures that explain his or her physical experiences. Abstract problem solving is also possible at this stage. For example, arithmetic equations can be solved with numbers, not just with objects.Formal operations (beginning at ages 11-15)–By this point, the child’s cognitive structures are like those of an adult and include conceptual reasoning.There was not much to talk about Clark’s cognitive level because his uniqueness is his physiological side. However it might be useful to discuss how an alien life form was able to adapt to a new civilization. Although his natural inhuman abilities like superhuman strength and speed that can be considered faster than the speed of light unfolds spontaneously, his parents was successful in teaching Clark the ordinary actions of human beings. He goes to school just like ordinary teenager and acquires knowledge through reading books and attending classes. He makes sound decisions everyday which is a sign that all stages in Piaget’s model were successfully completed.Clark Kent is a good example of our youth today. Although Clark is of foreign origins, his good upbringing by humans made him vulnerable to emotions. He experiences conflicts that collectively build his personality through the way he deals with them. The TV series Smallville featured Clark Kent as a teenager and did not include his childhood days. In the series, Clark was already about 2-3 years of age (earth’s time) when he was found by the Kent’s in the field, and then jumped to his teenage years. When he has reached his teenage years, his personality shows more of a good son by the way he speaks to his parents and by helping them in their farm. Thus, it can be concluded that he has developed successfully during his early days.Based on Erik Erickson’s theory of Human Development, “there are eight stages of human development, each focusing on a different conflict that we need to solve in order to development successfully into the next stage of our lives. The idea is that if we don’t resolve each stage or we choose the wrong of two choices, our ability to deal with the consecutive stages is impaired and the failure will return to us at some point later in life.(Winters, 2007)” The prior stages of Erickson’s model of human development should be experienced in our childhood years. These stages namely Oral Sensory, Muscular Anal, Locomotor, and Latency have different conflicts which are Trust vs Mistrust, Autonomy vs Doubt, Initiative vs Guilt, and Industry vs Inferiority each associated respectively in each prior stage. Since Clark’s childhood is not presented in the series, these stages cannot be discussed thoroughly. It can only be assumed that by the way he appeared and act as a teenager, some these preliminary stages were already fulfilled.Raised by a good couple, Clark was able to build trust with these people and obey everything that they say. His parents hid from Clark the truth about his origins and make him believe that he was their own. They guided him in his every undertaking and made him responsible in all his decisions and actions. However, the Kent’s were overprotecting him because of the danger that might happen if he reveals his exceptional abilities to the people making Clark dependent on his parents. There was one scene in the first episode when his father Jonathan Kent did not allow him to join the school’s football team because he might unconsciously use his powers to win the game and hurt someone in the field. This cautious act by his parents gave Clark unhappiness because he wanted so much to play the game and be a normal teenager. This also caused him to doubt himself and to hate his abnormal abilities. The conflicts that Clark has undergone during his early years were resolved during his teenage life.Further stages of Erikson’s model includes Adolescence, Young Adulthood, Middle Adulthood, and Maturity which discusses on conflicts that an individual experiences like issues on Identity vs Role Confusion, Psychosocial Development, Psychosocial Development, and Ego Integrity vs Despair which must be fulfilled in each of the aforementioned stages. When Clark was told about his true nature when he reached the right age, he suddenly felt alone and ran away from their home which he trusted for a long time. He had an abrupt confusion on his true identity, his birthplace, and his real parents. This stage is the setting of the TV series wherein Clark’s day to day encounter with other extraordinary people affected by the meteor rocks and the appearances of some extraterrestrial individuals related to him gradually connects the puzzle to his mysterious genesis.He uses his powers to help people in danger thus making himself worthy of his abilities. It is also in these stages where he fulfilled all the conflicts wherein he chose the wrong decisions in the prior stages of his life. He is now independent of his every action because of some circumstances that he proved that he can control himself and his abilities. He was able to make it to the football team although he declined to continue after realizing that there are others important things where he could use his time and abilities. Also in these stage he experience guilt, although it is included in the prior stages, every time he was unable to rescue someone from danger but then his parents were always explaining to him that ,even though he has those superhuman powers, he also has limitations which he should not be held accountable for that.As the series continues, Clark Kent becomes wiser and more responsible. It is also the time our character starts thinking about having relationships with the girl he had loved secretly for a long time in the character of Lana Lang, portrayed by actress Kristine Kreuk. Like his problem in playing football, Clark was having a hard time committing to relationships especially with his affection with Lana Lang which he think will be impossible because he caused the death of both her parents when the meteor shower, initiated by his spacecraft, hit their town. He was afraid that she will reject his love or worst hate him if she knows the truth about Clark. Although Lana was showing somehow showing intentions to him, Clark was not able to reciprocate the openness that Lana wanted. He wanted to have an intimate relationship with someone who will love and accept him. However, he realized that there will be risks involved if he plans to continue being with someone afraid that they might get hurt because his enemies were just leering around him. Still in this part of his life, he has a problem with trusting other people and was unable to communicate openly to others aside from his parents. He sacrificed his happiness to protect himself and the ones he loved although he will be alone all his life.Clark, in his early age, already exhibits generativity. According to Erickson, “personality development during midlife is the resolution of generativity versus stagnation. Generativity represents concern for the next generation while stagnation refers to the emptiness and boredom of self-absorption. A person may either link with the future or die with the past. (Newkirk, 2007)” Through his heroic deeds, Clark was already showing concern for other people maybe not in a family setting but in a bigger context which is the human race. His destiny was plotted by his real father and that is to save mankind from extinction. Although some of the conflicts in his past were not yet resolved, Clark did not stagnate but continued to help others. This was the result of him being taught by the good couple Kent’s the good values of humans. If not for them, Clark would have acted differently from what he is right now.Clark has developed very well as a human being and is continuously growing wiser as he mature. The experiences he had undergone made him a better person although sacrifices are needed. Some of the conflicts in his life might be never resolved to protect his identity and might bring up another conflicts in the preceding stages of development as a human. The love and care he received from the Kent’s and a few friends helped him a lot to realize his worth and become the man he is right now. His confidence and feeling of responsibility helped him find self-fulfillment in his life. The behavior he exhibits in every interaction and situation is best explained by the stages of Erickson’s model. The difficulties that Clark has encountered were caused by the failures or wrong decisions that he made during the prior stages of his life. However, these difficulties can be useful for our faults can serve as good teachers in our life.;Conclusion:There are many children and youth that are in the same situation as Clark Kent’s. There are many orphans which since birth was not able to receive paternal love which strongly affects their behavior. Like what Erikson said, if the conflicts in the stages in one’s life are not resolved, a person will certainly feel unhappy. Some of these orphans, when not attended properly, became liabilities to our society. They indulge in immoral acts which disintegrate their personality and stagnates their development. Without proper education, these children waste their time in non-productive acts. Our cognitive abilities, according to Piaget are reflected on our every action. The only way to help these children is by establishing more orphanage which will serve as the couple Kent’s in teaching these young Clark’s how to be a good human being. They should give these children their basic needs like clean shelter, food, and education. As in the case of teenagers who had already wasted their lives, gradual approach like giving advices is needed so that they will leave their bad habits. Families can also contribute by adopting these children and treat them as their own.There are also those with disabilities or uniqueness just like Clark Kent, although his abilities are unrealistic. These people sometimes in their lives were rejected and are always isolated from everyone else. There should be institutions that will give concern and affection to these people so that they will not feel alone. There should be programs that will help them maximize their full potentials even with their disabilities.If these persons were properly attended to, they might become like Clark Kent that, even though has uniqueness and lacking identity, he still continues to live on and develop. So that in time, we will not despair as to how weak we are in our youthful days. We should practice generativity and start being concern with others.;;

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