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

IX. The Challenges and Benefits of Generativity One

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I’m in charge of the entire department that services children in our community who are on probation, or are potentially headed there. My span of control is six probation officers and one support staff. I also have authority over all probation officers in other departments and the staff at the juvenile hall. And I have other duties, such as training manager. In this capacity, I feel I am in charge of creating the agency’s future. I’m really proud of the new programs we’ve created to fill needs in the department. In addition to some of the tactical programs, we’re currently trying to expand the number of foster placements in the county rather than send kids off to group homes. It’s been nice to be part of that success.

One of our Sage leaders works with both the scouting program and The Friendship Club in her community. She sees this type of generative work to be much more satisfying than the more complex and often convoluted work to be done through political activities (which will be more prominent in the third and fourth generativity roles to which we turn in later sections of this book):

Whatever group I’m involved with, whether the Boy Scouts or The Friendship Club, I try to bring a personal relationship that can strengthen the organization. So, finding common bonds and building relationships is very important to me. I’m not very political because most politicians are boring. They are limited and not funny. If you build relationships based on trust, you are more likely to move things forward. That is, if people really know who I am, they will tend to trust me when I try to implement something. I don’t think a person would be very effective in any long-term position unless they are able to develop a high trust level.

Certainly there are people who decide to engage in a project while also raising a family. These are the men and women who do try to have it all. The Emerging Sage leaders we interviewed often talked about the conflict and tensions inherent in their effort to be civically engaged while also raising children. We conclude this chapter by turning to these challenged men and women.

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