Chapter 11 Rogers: Person-Centered Theory 307
He shared his elementary school days in Oak Park, Illinois, with Ernest Hemingway and the children of Frank Lloyd Wright, but he had no aspirations for either literature or for architecture. Instead, he wanted to be a fanner, a scientific farmer who cared about plants and animals and how they grew and developed.
Although he was from a large family, he was quite shy and lacking in social skills. A sensitive boy, he was easily hurt by the teasing he received from classmates and siblings.
At the beginning of his high school years, his parents—hoping for a more wholesome and religious atinosphere—moved then family to a farm about 45 miles west of Chicago. The move met his parents' purpose. In this isolated atinosphere, the family developed close ties with one another but not with young people from other families. Reading the Bible, working hard, and taking care of farm animals and plants occupied much of his time. Although he believed that his parents cared very much for their children, he also believed that they were quite controlling in then child-rearing practices. As a result, the children grew up in a home that included almost no social life and an abundance of hard work. Dancing, playing cards, drinking carbonated beverages, and attending the theater were all forbidden.
In this environment, the young man developed a scientific attitude toward farming, taking detailed notes on his observations. These notes taught him about the "necessary and sufficient" conditions for the optimal growth of plants and animals. Throughout his high school years and into his college days, he retained a passionate interest in scientific agriculture. However, he never did became a farmer. After two years of college, he changed his life goal from agriculture to the ministry and later to psychology.
But devotion to the scientific method was to remain with Carl Rogers for a life-tune, and his research on the "necessary and sufficient" conditions for human psychological growth was at least partially responsible for his winning the first Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award granted by the American Psychological Association.
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