Generativity: Taking care of the next generation

enerativity involves taking care of the next generation. It is a time for excitement and exploration. Exciting in that life becomes much more than the proverbial ‘bling-bling’ and more about the ‘ring-ring’ of exploring opportunities.

Dr. Erik Erikson, celebrated for his work in the field of generativity famously noted that “the fashionable insistence on dramatizing the dependence of children on adults often blinds us to the dependence of the older generation on the younger one.”

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Life moments

Last night for example, I received a video text from our eldest daughter. Now just consider what that means, our family, who are over 500 miles away can instantly share life’s moments. 

That was not happening 10 years ago! In the video our granddaughter Harpie (I gave her that tag, it is Harper) who is six years old, is practicing shooting her bow with her ‘Daniel Boone/Davey Crockett’ dad. Her left-handedness makes for a great future softball pitcher, but me being the non-hunter gatherer team coach, I loved the video. 

I also loved that she told her dad she would bag her first deer by the age of seven! 

Knowing just enough about hunting to know that nabbing a deer with a bow is impressive, the proud ‘Papa’ that I am loves that she is already practicing and teaching me. I look forward to her vast upcoming hunting achievements. 

Pay it forward

Generativity is about accepting responsibilities and paying yourself so you can be part of the continual familial thread. 

To me, encouraging others and coaching with the skills that I am good at is of paramount importance. Being accepted and excited for the things I know nothing, is great too. 

I am blessed that my son-in-law has parents who taught him to hunt, fish and love the outdoors, and our granddaughter has both hunter gatherers and team-oriented grandparents to balance out the road which is her and her brothers lives.

Excitement and exploration are keys to the generativity recipe.  Everyone has something to offer.

Maybe you are:

  • A great cook
  • A fabulous crafter
  • A singer, dancer, or performer
  • Whatever your talents, give back and accept what they give you!


Tom Matt is the host of the “Tom Matt Show,” a radio talk show syndicated in Michigan on the Michigan Talk Network. He can be heard locally Saturday mornings on the ‘Big Talker’ WJIM 1240 AM. For more info please visit


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