Home Concepts Adult Development Peak Life Experiences: The Beginning of Senior Sage Leadership

Peak Life Experiences: The Beginning of Senior Sage Leadership

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Nonprofit experiences

Most senior sage leaders have had life-changing experiences that move them to expanded civic engagement due to their involvement in nonprofit work. Service as board presidents has been very growth-enhancing for many senior sage leaders. One sage reports on volunteering to provide food and shelter for those in need, while another recalls the style and behavior of her Junior League president and her decision not to be like her. Several senior sage leaders remember the impact of being elected to chair important organizations and activities, while another explains a flow of transforming experiences that carried her from the convent to meeting her husband and embracing his children as her own, to taking in foster children, to chairing The Masterpeace Conference, to working with Native Americans – and finally to helping found Hospitality House, the local program for the homeless. And one senior sage leader and her husband had a life-changing experience in another state:

What motivates me to engage in civic activities is the desire to continue building my life and learning from every situation that I can. And part of this is having a life within the community in which I live. My husband and I learned this in spades when we spent a period of time volunteering in another state to work on an important project. Our goal was to engage the state and change the way the people there thought about our planet and solving conflict without war. We learned how to penetrate small towns and large cities and found that getting involved can be very rewarding and satisfying. So being in a community and being involved in it is part of having a whole life. If you’re not involved, your life can pass you by. You want to be able to get to our age and be able to say, “What have I done with this life of mine? What difference has my life made?” If you don’t get involved, you’ll never know the answers to these questions. So just open the door and walk through.

The Civil Rights Movement

Two senior sage leaders had influential experiences during the Civil Rights period. One found his involvement in Mississippi’s civil rights struggle to be an enormous education, and the other still reflects on the troubled racial integration she experienced in her Baton Rouge high school:

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