As we noted in a previous essay, the “big picture” is discovered by those engaged in Generativity Four. When one embarks upon a journey of civic engagement at any point in life, there appears to be a rich opportunity for new learning. As Dan has observed, it is only the matter of opening up to this opportunity:
To put a wrap on this as to what I have learned since retiring over 15 years ago, I have an appreciation for learning new things and experiencing and taking new risks with the unknown. I don’t mean in just an intellectual way. I learned from my experiences in Habitat for Humanity how a house is constructed by just going out and working on it. This hands-on experience really got me away from my leadership role as a university president, and especially about ego. I just went out, got a hammer, and learned how to do it. It was ok to not know anything, to just be a novice. And you know, in a year, I could roof my own house, build a foundation, space rebar, etc. Then I got interested in woodworking….
What I have come to learn at this stage of my life is to honor what I don’t know and have confidence that I can learn new things. I really got to appreciate the principles of Total Quality Management when I was re-building my Ford Model A. I decided that I would take down every single part and put them back together again from scratch. I really had no idea how to do this, but I got a book. What I learned was always to think through what I was about to do, and never to rush. Be patient. Do it right the first time because if I do it wrong, I’m going to do it all over again. Some of that “do over’ thing is a life-long lesson……..All of my projects that have required me to use my hands have really tested my brain….and my patience.
Dan has outlined quite a curriculum for himself. As a former educator, he has now built his own personal university with a broad selection of life courses–and the tuition is paid not with money but with a willingness to take a risk. Generativity becomes both quiet and brave.
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