As we have done with the first three generativity roles, we now explore the compelling reasons and rewards for Generativity Four. We approach these reasons from two perspectives. We turn to the first perspective (satisfaction) in this essay. We begin with the return of one of our four Featured Players, Lisa, the woman who faced the Generative One challenge of raising a developmental disabled nephew and took care of her ill mother for many years before moving to Nevada County. We pick up Lisa’s narrative as she describes her role as a mentor (Generativity Two), and then moves on to a broader description of her role as a civic leader:
Several days ago I heard this definition of mentoring: a person who helps another individual reach potential. So to me, a mentor is a person who helps someone learn. I have never specifically seen myself as a mentor, but in retrospect I know I have. One of the things I learned when I termed off the board of our umbrella non-profit service organization is that I couldn’t put my finger on any other organization that I had a passion for. What I realized was that I really love to help people, regardless of the organization. If someone needs help, and it is something that I can do well, I will do it. In this way I have been, and continue to be, a mentor. Regardless of the role that I might play at any given time, I see myself as a person who can create excellent teams and teamwork. I really do this well and enjoy it. To me, this is also being a mentor.
Lisa also addresses an important question about the meaning and satisfaction of Generativity Four Civic Engagement:
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I think back to when I arrived in Nevada County. After a life-time of successful professional work as a clinical psychologist, I just wanted a little job instead of being in charge of anything; the time had come for me to kayak, learn to fly fish, and hike a lot. I’ve now been here seven years and haven’t done any of this. What started out as a little job quickly turned into me being invited to become executive director of a major arts organization here. The organization was in deep trouble; it had a board that was dragging it down, and there was little internal structure. In addition, the organization was deeply in debt. Becoming the ED was the best job I ever had. Even though the organization could only be sustained for another two and one-half years, we made a lot of progress. One thing I am proud of is that we stabilized the organization by developing a dynamic team, both the artistic and administrative side. Every one gave their best. The organization was greatly loved for twenty years. Then a new leader had come in and made some bad decisions that created a lot of angst in the community. She basically didn’t care what the community thought.