Home Concepts Adult Development Essay XXIII:  Generativity Four—Generative Roles and Responsibilities

Essay XXIII:  Generativity Four—Generative Roles and Responsibilities

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Providing Youthful Energy

One of the Emerging Sage leaders observes that most service clubs are filled with very senior men and women. He suggests that he brings youthful energy to these clubs and new initiatives that can be attractive to the youth population of Grass Valley and Nevada City. However, this young Sage leader also offers a balanced perspective when he expresses deep and abiding respect for the wisdom and history being brought to the community and service clubs by Senior Sage leaders.

This balancing suggests a process of reciprocity: youthful energy in exchange for the lessons learned from older sage wisdom: “I just sit there and listen.” He notes rich insights to be gained from the careers of Senior Sage leaders, insights that seem relevant to the career of this Emerging Sage. It is not so much the conversations that take place during and after the service club meetings; it is just being in the presence of these wise older leaders and listening to them.

 Engaging in Thoughtful Listening

Emerging Sages view themselves as contributing most to their organizations when they engage in thoughtful listening to what is said by everyone present; they then reflect on the experience. While they bring youthful energy to their organizations, most Emerging Sages try to do so in a calm and deliberative way. Unlike their earlier adult years, they no longer leap to a solution but, rather, encourage and appreciate diverse perspectives and alternative answers to complex community problems their organizations are facing.

Becoming Mentors

Emerging Sage leaders are often at a point in their lives where they are being mentored by older Leaders—and they are also themselves becoming mentors to younger men and women in Western Nevada County. They relish this new role, having in many instances moved away from the all-embracing ambitious push for personal achievement and individual recognition. They feel a bit mellower and are pleased with their shift from arrogance to humility, and from trying to do everything themselves to assisting others get work completed and ensuring they get credit for it. This is an important transition in the lives of Emerging Sage leaders, and in the ways they learn how best to serve their community.

We know from research that has been conducted on mentoring that many men and women who were not mentored during their early years find it hard to mentor others in their adult years. Also, these people are more likely to “burn out” during their middle adult years than those who had experienced strong mentoring support during the first years of their careers. Apparently, a haunting sense of loss or failed support may remain dormant during the early years of an adult’s career—but comes back in full force later in life. It’s as if there is a time bomb ticking, waiting to be set off during one’s late 40s and early 50s.

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