Role of Attitudes towards Death in Human Development

Role of Attitudes towards Death in Human Development

Death happens in so many different ways; accidents, homicide, suicide, disease, starvation, euthanasia, the natural aging process. Death is an extremely common event. For example, approximately 20% of children will lose a parent by the time they graduate from high school. About 21,000 children die every day across the world, that’s about one child dying every 4 seconds. Across the world, about 105 people die every minute. Of all the things that can happen to a person during their lifetime, death is the only certainty.

And yet, we are afraid of death. We don’t like talking about it; we can’t come to terms with it. We are afraid of losing the people we love and the thought of our own death is often terrifying. Euphemistic language helps us distance ourselves from death and reduces some of our anxiety; for example, ‘kicked the bucket,’ ‘six feet under and pushing up daisies.’ Modern medicine also exists in denial of death. Doctors are trained to prevent death, especially with all the new technology available to them. But, they do not always receive extensive training on how to help prepare a patient for death and how to help them die in dignity and in peace.

Without a doubt, death is a loss; it deprives us of experiences and love. Yet, it is also a life experience; perhaps the most important we will ever have. As such, shouldn’t people have a more positive relationship with death? Instead of giving rise to fear, shouldn’t death be an expected and accepted part of life? How might fear and denial of death impact the development of an individual? Are we preventing growth and maturity with our denial and fear? Will we have a better life if we were more accepting of death? Think about this issue and do some research. What role do attitudes toward death play within the context of human development?

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