Personal Growth

Suzanne’s comments about the following article, Stages of Moral Development: “Many years ago I lived in Thibodaux, Louisiana. While there I taught a student development course to freshmen at Nichols State University. This powerful course addressed ways to build practical skills, such as how to study, as well as self-awareness skills, such as building self-esteem and understanding self. The information impacted me as much or more than the students. The self-esteem component moved me in new directions within myself to grow in emotional wellness. As I was integrating the information, I was motivated to teach many self-awareness classes for the next 25 years.

Another teacher, Sister Carmelita, taught the student development course at Nichols State also. She created the following handout for a lesson on stages of moral development. She synthesized a lot of information and presented it in this short handout. May you find insights for understanding yourself and others. It may be useful to look at where you currently find yourself in these stages and how it might relate to unity consciousness and oneness expressed in the above article.

In reading stage 4, interpret the law broadly to include religious law, political law, spoken and unspoken rules at one’s place of work or in the family system.

There is a shift in consciousness between stage 4 and stage 5 where a person moves from an external locus of control to an inner locus of control. Here one takes responsibility for their life and lives with an intention of love, wanting the highest good for self and others. It may be easier to grasp and live from oneness if one has evolved to the internal locus of control.”

Stages of Moral Development According to Piaget and Kolhberg

by Sister Carmelita

The spiritual life passes through definite developmental stages. Not many people reach the highest state: that of fully internalizing moral principles. These stages are not easy to describe precisely. Each reflects a combination of ideas, attitudes, and decisions that represent a portion of the broad spectrum of spiritual growth. When working to raise the level of moral development in yourself or another, begin to work with information that is one step ahead of where the person is operating at the present time.

External Motivation ─ The motives for action are outside of one’s self.

Level 1The motivation is pain or pleasure which someone or something gives one.

Stage 1.  People act out of fear of punishment.

 Stage 2.  People act because they are seeking a reward or pleasure.

Level 2.  The motivation is conformity or conventionality.

 Stage 3.  People do things because they want others to think well of them, to accept them.

Stage 4.  People do things because of the law. They follow the law and maintain it, but accept no responsibility for it.

Internal Motivation ─ The motives for acting are one’s own. Responsibility is accepted. One comes from the heart in making decisions.

Level 3.  The motivation is an internal principle by which one judges and determines one’s actions.

 Stage 5.  People begin to be involved in making decisions for themselves. They   accept personal responsibility and make personal commitments. This is the contractual stage, in which people still see the need for law; however, it is no longer absolute. They believe it can be changed in certain circumstances and that their behavior is guided by contracts they make with others.

Stage 6.  People live out their principles. The central principle is that of justice and love, which directs all their actions and influences their ideas and attitudes. Belief and action become one.





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