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

IX. The Challenges and Benefits of Generativity One

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Then there are the less famous leaders in Nevada County, California, who participated in the Sage Leadership Project. They were all devoted to their community and many of them gained great generative satisfaction from working with children who were not their own.  One of our Sage leaders offered a touching and poignant observation about the generative impact that resulted from her work with such children.

Being able to support people and letting them know they’re doing a good job are qualities I admire in a leader. And also giving others confidence and making them feel good about themselves and their abilities. When I worked with kids, being with teenagers was always my favorite because I was so into building their self-esteem. And I think doing that has stayed with me, because everyone has to work on their self-esteem. I think I am good at that. I think I boost people’s morale.

Another Sage leader offered a more detailed example of how he works with under-served children by offering to volunteer in his local school:

I do see a different path, mainly due to continuing budget reductions for my organization. The other day was graduation for the preschool in my building, which serves children with severe disabilities. I went in and started playing with the kids. We were playing when a very small guy, who is a fighter, backed-up and put himself in my lap. The teachers said he didn’t do that with anyone. We were playing more and I had to leave for a meeting. The teachers said, “You should come back every day.” When I think about my talents, I believe that my ability to connect with kids is my #1 talent, even though it got me to where I am today and I don’t use it in the work I currently do.

A second form of institution-based surrogate parenting is to be found in organizations that serve children who are struggling with the demands placed on them by society. This is the opposite from education. It is the side of isolation and, hopefully, remediation that unfortunately is often given more public attention than the preventive, educational side. One of our Sage leaders found Generative One gratification through his work as the leader of an organization focusing on troubled youth:

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