Home Concepts Adult Development IX. The Challenges and Benefits of Generativity One

IX. The Challenges and Benefits of Generativity One

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When asked what the glue was that had held their relationship together for twenty years, Bill said “valuing our differences.” Bessy agreed with him. This seemed to be important to them, for if they did not value their differences their relationship might be heading for a crisis. Earlier in the interview they spoke of not having disagreements. Now they spoke of valuing their differences. Clearly, their sense of unity was built on a shared purpose, raising their daughter. They held very few differences of opinion in this realm, having affirmed the traditional values and beliefs transferred from their own parents about raising children. One wonders if, as they grow older, they will continue to learn from each other and grow closer together again under the auspices of some new shared vision.

Savoring the Fruits of Mutual Generativity One Labor

Glenda and Kurt offer a superb example of young people moving from the difficult early stages of child-rearing to balanced and gratifying roles in Generativity One. Their life story also illustrates the difficulty inherent in the initiation of the newly emerging role of child-rearing in the life of an individual or couple. Each now 33 years old, Glena and Kurt had been a couple since they were 15; they were married 11 years prior to the birth of their daughter, Trisha, and continued to live within a few miles of their parents and the homes where they grew-up. For most of their early years together, Glenda and Kent lived simple and carefree lives and received substantial assistance from both families. In essence, the two of them never had to grow up, but could remain as “adult children” living in the shadow of their original homes and families. Their decision to have a child came very slowly. When they finally did decide to have a child, they suddenly had to grow-up individually and as a couple.

During their two hour interview, Glenda and Kurt talked about what was most important for other people to know about them as individuals and as a couple. With Trisha taking a nap in the other room, they identified child-raising as the central theme in their current life and spoke of the contrast with their past life when they were free of most responsibilities.

Given their dual careers and family commitments, Kurt and Glenda didn’t have much time being along together any more. They were fully consumed in Generativity One. While both loved their child, Kurt and Glenda also referred to former areas of mutual enjoyment, now largely forfeited, complex new responsibilities within their relationship, and even an inconvenient change to a larger residence they thought was necessary because of their child. Now, because of the proximity of their house to a busy highway, they were concerned about Trisha’s safety. They began looking for a different rental with a larger, fenced yard in which their toddler could play.

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