Home Concepts Adult Development Deep Caring XXVII: Generativity Four—The Sacrifices

Deep Caring XXVII: Generativity Four—The Sacrifices

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Our findings from the Sage project suggests that the management of boundaries may be critical in moving from success to significance. If Emerging Sages don’t devote time, attention, and energy to significant others in their lives, how can they expect their partners to support their shift to significance—and the often-accompanying de-emphasis on pay and promotion? If other members of the Emerging Sage’s family don’t really understand the importance of the leader’s civic engagement, how can they be expected to willingly sacrifice their time with the leader or forgo their own priorities—like owning a home, having a second child, traveling, or saving for retirement? More than one Emerging Sage observes with regret that he gave up so much earlier in his adult life that he now feels he can’t adequately provide for his family. If Emerging Sage leaders don’t pay enough attention to sustaining their own physical and mental health, they won’t be able to sustain a commitment to significance beyond personal ambition. In many ways, self-sacrifice is among the most selfish of lifestyles, for it can’t be sustained and often results in personal regret and enduring resentment among those in the lives of Emerging Sages who are most important.

Senior Sage Leaders

More than half of the 50 Senior Sage leaders say there is no personal sacrifice in their civic engagements: “quite the opposite. I don’t feel that my wife or I are sacrificing anything. We are being enrichment by our community involvements.” Even if there is sacrifice, they tend to believe the benefits far out-weigh any personal costs:

Right now I don’t feel like I sacrifice. Rather, my volunteer work feeds me. I went through a couple of marriages and had to choose between being who I am or being in the marriages. At this point in my life, my husband wholeheartedly supports what I do and is enthusiastic about it. My kids are all grown now, and they’re proud of me, so it’s fine.

 A small number of Senior Sages feel mixed about whether their civic activities involve personal sacrifice:

Anyone who gives freely of their time for volunteer work feels there is some sacrifice, but they wouldn’t do it if they didn’t think it was worth it. Sure, instead of volunteering 40-50 hours a month, I could be doing other things like lying on a lounge or reading a book. But that’s not the point, is it?

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