Home Concepts Adult Development Essay XXI:  Generativity Three: Consecrating, Gathering, Preserving Values, Story-Telling

Essay XXI:  Generativity Three: Consecrating, Gathering, Preserving Values, Story-Telling

28 min read

William Bergquist and Gary Quehl

This essay and the previous one are filled to the brim with diverse acts of generativity, because we think the acts of Generativity Three are least likely to be identified, classified or fully appreciated. In this essay we identify four modes of Generativity Three:

  • Consecrating (setting aside a specific place where an important event occurred or setting aside a specific place that is related tangibly to a specific person or group).
  • Gathering (bringing together people on regular basis who have shared a profound experience).
  • Preserving values (providing clarity, representation, demonstration, monitoring or reinforcement of specific, cherished values).
  • Story-telling (sharing the history of specific people, events, traditions).

In this essay we explore each of these acts of Generativity Three, deploying our Four Featured Players and the interviews we conducted with our Sage leaders. We also look at other examples of these four forms of guardianship we have witnessed in our own lives, among our friends, and in various written accounts. We begin with consecrating.


We borrow the term consecration from the memorable speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln at the Gettysburg battlefield near the end of the American Civil War. Consecration involves setting aside a specific place where an important event occurred, or a place that is related tangibly to an honored person or group.

The first type of consecrated settings that comes to mind are cemeteries and battlefields. In the United States, the National Cemetery in Arlington Virginia is perhaps most noteworthy. Located across the Potomac River from Washington D.C., this cemetery provides a sacred home to men and women who have died defending the United States in both domestic and foreign wars. Arlington was the first cemetery to be established after the Civil War (1868). Those who operate Arlington often describe their job as “keepers of the history.” Over 400,000 men and women are buried at Arlington, and this consecrating act of generativity is complimented each year by a generative ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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