Home Concepts Adult Development Essay XXII:  Generativity Four—The Varieties of Civic Engagement

Essay XXII:  Generativity Four—The Varieties of Civic Engagement

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Support also comes from outside the immediate family. As one of the Emerging leaders notes, those with whom one works on civic projects also become a primary social network. And members of their families often join the Emerging Sages and become part of this expanded social system. Much like the barn-raisings of a previous era, contemporary community services become occasions for family-based friendships and celebrations. Emerging Sage leaders have many balls in the air, but they are joined by other jugglers and soon find that this becomes a splendid inter-family affair.

 Sacrifice and Legacy

There is, of course, the other side of the story. Its not all fun-and-games for many of the Emerging Sage leaders. They talk about missing out on important family events because of their civic activities and obligations. They come home exhausted from a full day of service to their community and find little time and energy left for those about whom they most care – their spouse and children; one emerging leader talks about falling asleep on the coach rather than playing basketball with his daughter as promised. Yet, the commitment to outside service is compelling to these Emerging Sages even when they have children living at home. They believe that a strong community makes for strong children. From their perspective, it truly does take a village to raise a child, and a community that works to counter decline will be better suited to raise healthy and caring children.

Even when sacrifices are being made by Emerging Sages, there are benefits for the entire family. One Emerging Sage leader shares the experience of taking his daughter with him when meeting with a young man for whom he is a “big brother.”  Later the daughter says, “Daddy, we have to help him.” What a remarkable life lesson! Is there a better way in which to learn about giving back than by observing one’s parent in action?  As many of the Emerging Sage leaders observe, these powerful examples of human service tend to linger in the minds and hearts of children. Perhaps this daughter will herself become actively involved in community service and will one day become an Emerging and then a Senior Sage leader. What a powerful legacy this would be!

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