Home Concepts Adult Development VIII.Generativity One: Raising Children and Engaging Projects

VIII.Generativity One: Raising Children and Engaging Projects

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Should We Start a Major Project?

Many of the people we interviewed for the enduring, intimate relationship project faced the issue of whether to have children, as well as beginning a project that represented something of great value to one or both of them. Such projects can take many forms, ranging from raising animals to mounting a major corporate venture. Regardless of the breadth or depth of the commitment, a project becomes an important source of generativity for people and often helps to define the distinctive character of the individual. In addition. it provides the individual with something to hold on to when the going gets tough.

Take Larry and Harold, who exemplify a heightened commitment to a specific project: building a home. A couple for six and one-half years, Larry and Harold had similar careers that led directly to their mutual project. Larry was a thirty four year old architect, while Harold was thirty one and was a successful retail designer/architect. Their commitment to building a beautiful home was widely-known and admired in their local community. It was a spectacular home in terms of both design and detail, and it contained the backbone of the rich story of Larry and Harold’s relationship from its earliest development.

In arriving at their home, the interviewer walked through the corridor of a large apartment building and into a garden. Tucked away behind a cluster of tall apartment houses, Larry and Harold’s cottage stood out in stark contrast against its urban environment. As their story unfolded, it was clear that the detailing was a blend of both their personalities and characters. Harold’s diverse art work, which ranged from oil paintings to ceramic sculptures, was displayed in the living room. The clean, sharp detail of the structure and the modern leather sofa was a touch of Larry. The old, stuffed chairs sharply contrasted with the newness of the sofa and were indicative of Harold. Downstairs there were two bedrooms with a veranda connecting them. A hot tub was hidden in the corner, overlooking the garden in back. Beyond the garden, the cityscape rose in full view. The second floor consisted of a carefully designed kitchen with a dining area connecting to it. Behind this was a large, yet cozy, living room, with a fireplace and high ceiling. Both Larry and Harold’s art was displayed in this room. On the bookshelves were photos and books, representing their separate lives and their life together as a couple.

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