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

Deep Caring XXVII: Generativity Four—The Sacrifices

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Letting Go

If there is sacrifice, it is sometimes framed not as a loss of personal time but as an inability to exert influence over the nonprofit organization they are serving. Most Senior Sages realize at some point that they need to step back and let others assume formal leadership roles. They learn they have to “let go,” much as they had to do with their own children earlier in their lives. As grandparents, Senior Sage leaders can play with their grandchildren without having full responsibility for them. Similarly, they can often participate actively in an organization without having to take full responsibility for its welfare—at least not to the extent if they were employed there full-time. This may be an important element of Generativity Four.

Alternatively, Senior Sages sometimes find they can’t let go because their favored organization is in crisis. Their inner standards won’t allow them to abandon the organization and their commitment to its welfare; they feel they have to remain actively involved, and often in its troubling minutia as well. This can lead to a real sense of sacrifice in the loss of family time and an increase in personal stress.

Myth and Reality

Often it is people who are not civically engaged who perceive such involvements as requiring great personal sacrifice. These men and women often remain disengaged precisely because they don’t recognize that this type of work can be rewarding and a source of energy rather than a drain.  If they do get involved in civic activities, it is sometimes out of a sense of duty or civic obligation, in which case there is often resentment—or their commitment is half-hearted and short-lived.

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