The developmental theme of chapter five is cleanliness and respect. Children are expected to be highly respectful towards the elderly people, as well as keep themselves neat. They are also expected to keep their environment clean. Momma was the key figure of substance, as she was the one expecting to receive these two characteristics of cleanliness and respect from children who lived with her, particularly Maya. Indeed, the children did not disappoint Momma in this regard at all, as they did well to distinct themselves from other children. The children being around Momma spoke politely to one another, and were very neat. Considering the adolescent development, a need to be respectful and clean is very important for all young people. With a respectful attitude, an adolescent can freely learn from adults on how he or she should manage the new psychosocial changes she/he finds in him or herself. Cleanliness will also ensure that the adolescent is labeled as highly mature to step into adulthood.
Religion and a need to worship a divine deity cannot be undervalued in the development of a person. Indeed, there are several religions in the world; however, a person is very likely to belong to the one he or she was born in. This is to say that people often practice their parents’ religion. Chapter six of the books lays a lot of emphasis on religion. Reverend Howard Thomas is at the centre of the chapter. One ironic situation, however, is about the fact that the Reverend seems to have a certain habit that goes contrary with the biblical and Christian teachings. One of this is the practice of gossiping whenever he visited Momma on Saturday nights. There are lots of lessons to be learned from this. For a preacher who always spent long hours in the pulpit preaching to gossip, just like an unbeliever, was improperly, and this left a lot of lessons for Maya and Bailey who were growing up. They had to learn that if they really wished to serve God; they had to do that in truth and in spirit as the Holy Bible advocated.
In our daily lives, we come across people who influence our lives in several ways. The people, who make the most significant positive impact to our lives, must never be forgotten. It is very important to show appreciation to these people, and this is exactly what the seventh chapter talks about. In this chapter, Maya pays tribute to her grandmother. The act of paying tribute is a sign of showing gratitude for the good things people do for us. Gratitude is, therefore, the developmental topic discussed in the chapter. There are lessons to be learnt from the chapter. The first is that it is important to be a person who impacts the lives of other people positively. This is because that is the only way we may attract their appreciation even after their death. The second lesson is that we always have to try, and show appreciation and respect to people when they are able to receive them. We should not always wait till they pass away.
The chapter eight of the book has a central developmental theme of racism. This is because the chapter opens with sharp criticisms against the Whites in the Stamps. The Whites were seen as people who looked down on the Blacks, and treated them with contempt. In the modern world, racism is a subject that is highly criticized. The act of racial discrimination is criticized at all levels of human development and human practice. Right from the academics to professional practice, people who look down on others because of their racial background are concerned. It is, therefore, important that as children and adolescents, the practice of looking down on other people will be eschewed. It is important to realize that all people are equal and important human beings. Discrimination should also be avoided not only in terms of race but, as the chapter brings out, it should be wrong to discriminate people on the ground of their poverty, gender, or disability.
Family reunion is an important subject in the development of a child and an adolescent. There are several children who, for various reasons, do not live with their family or parents. Without any doubt, the practice, whereby children live with either a single parent or out of the home of their parents, has a lot of negative effects on the children. More often than not, it makes a child upbringing very difficult, and makes some children adapt delinquent behaviors. It was very important for the family, as Maya was so happy to have a reunion with her father at Christmas Holidays. There is an important lesson to be learnt from this chapter, and the lesson is that parents who for genuine reasons cannot live with their children must take advantage of different occasions and events, such as Christmas, Open Day, and Graduation Ceremonies to unite with their families. Even in the case of divorce, it should still not be out of place for such reunion to take place.