Motivation for civic engagement also resides in the feedback that emerging sages receive from others in the community. This feedback is often immediate and heart-felt, in part because the Twin Towns are not large and many people know one another. One of the emerging sage leaders describes the experience of going to dinner with his wife and having young people that he has served coming to the table and thanking him for what he has done to make their lives better. The emerging leaders also feel “blessed” by relationships they have established with persons who share similar interests; they talk about having fun with their collaborators while finding shared gratification in the tangible results they achieve together.
More than with the senior sage leaders, emerging sages are able to look long into the future and envision a community that is significantly better than it is now. They know in very tangible ways that their community impacts the quality of life they envision for their children. This sense of sustained community improvement is particularly moving in the case of those emerging sages who are able to trace their families back in Grass Valley or Nevada City as many as five generations. These men and women of “place” clearly understand that work done years ago by previous generations is now benefiting them. So it is natural for them to work on behalf of their own children and future generations.
What is the Motivation III: Squandering Time and Opportunity
Of course, there is another side to this story. The hard-driving emerging leaders have to face the ongoing challenge of there being too little time and too much to accomplish. They worry about squandering precious time that they do have available, and they believe their civic work must produce timely tangible results that are worth the effort. They also talk about not squandering opportunity; they live in a small community and are connected with others who are committed to the same important causes. This is something that people living in large, impersonal cities rarely have an opportunity to experience: “I don’t want to squander this chance that I have to make an impact on something that is important to me! I must move forward with this work. What else would I be doing?” One emerging sage leader describes her motivation as simply being part of her DNA: “How can I not do that?” Much like the senior sage leaders, many emerging leaders talk about this seemingly inevitable and inexhaustible drive toward civic engagement. It’s in their genes!Download Article 1K Club