Home Concepts Adult Development XI. The Enduring Role of Generativity One as Leader and Grandparent

XI. The Enduring Role of Generativity One as Leader and Grandparent

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Gary Quehl and William Bergquist

In the tenth essay we focused on our continuing role as a parent. Generativity One remains in place throughout our life. In this essay we explore two other ways in which generativity one continues to play an important role: (1) as leader of an organization and (2) as grandparent. We also address the most challenging dimension of generativity one: the death of a child or end of a cherished project.

We Continue to Lead

There are essentially six ways in which senior men and women address the issue of “retirement”; in our framework this involves finding how to engage or disengage from the major projects in our lives. Several books and articles have been written on this topic. Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald Miller make profound observations about the process of moving from “age-ing” to “sage-ing” (Schachter-Shalomi and Miller, 1997), while Marc Freedman describes the “encore” careers in which mature men and women engage (Freedman, 2008). We commend the inspiration and insights offered by these authors, but we propose there are more options than they identify—and that the decisions being made by mature adults are often much more complex and challenging than the processes they describe. We here briefly identify and analyze each of the six options and connect each to the challenges of shifting Generativity One roles.

Option One: Shifting Careers

This is the option being described by Schachter-Shalomi, Ronald Miller, and Marc Freedman. It involves shifting the skills and knowledge that one has acquired during their “working years” to a second career (often moving from a for-profit organization to a not-for-profit organization).  This often involves a transition from Generativity One to Generativity Two, Three or Four.

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