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.
So far in our exploration, we have been presenting a new narrative about the nature and dynamics of generativity. In this essay, we rely on a script that has already been written by the original playwright, Erik Erikson—and by subsequent authors and researchers in the field of adult development.
The two key developmental theorists to devote considerable attention during the late 20th Century to generativity were John Kotre and Dan McAdams. It was Kotre (1984) who first expanded on Erikson’s concept of generativity and the motivational base for this developmental stage. Specifically, Kotre suggested that generativity is “a desire to invest one’s substance on forms of life and work that will outlive the self.” (Kotre, 1984, p. 10) It is quite understandable and appropriate that Kotre identifies this wish for some form of immortality as a key motivator for generative action. It is also quite understandable that some developmental theorists have identified other sources of motivation and have referred to the inherently narcissistic orientation to be found in Kotre’s challenging proposition. We will return frequently in this series of essays to the issue of desired immortality and the role it plays in motivating generative actions.
In this essay, particularly astute observations are made by our Sage leaders about generativity two and the power of appreciation as a leverage point for the generation of energy and strategies for collaboration. Generativity seems to reside, finally, in a commitment to vision and the movement beyond one’s personal interests (setting aside ego).1K Club