Home Concepts Adult Development Deep Caring XXXII: The Origins of Generativity in Spirit

Deep Caring XXXII: The Origins of Generativity in Spirit

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William Bergquist and Gary Quehl

In bringing this series of essays to a close, we focused initially on agency and communion, as well as appreciation. Residing at an even deeper and more personal level are the processes of spirit and soul. We propose in these final essays that Generativity is ultimately about more than child-rearing, organizational leadership, mentoring, preservation of traditions, and civic engagement. It is about something even deeper and more personally transformational. At the heart of the matter are two forms of Generativity that women and men often experience during the middle years of their life: Generativity of Spirit and Generativity of Soul.

To better understand the direction in which we are taking this final analysis of generativity, we wish to distinguish between these two forms of generativity. Spirit is about achievement and about lifting upward. It is the form of generativity that was identified in the earlier essay as Agency. It is about the joy that comes with accomplishment and recognition. It concerns our discovery of higher order truths and our commitment to higher order values that motivate our collaborative work with other people in our family, in our organizations, and in our community. This generativity ensures that our presence is felt in the world, and it often serves as a bridge between Generativity One and Generativity Two.

Generativity of Soul is about coming home and discovering what is already there and what should be valued. It is the form of generativity that was identified in an earlier essay as Communion. Generativity of the soul is about tending not just to matters of the organization we lead; it is about tending to sick or dying parents. It is about protecting those people that we love and the projects we have begun under Generativity One.

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