Spiritual Generativity- Erikson and Easter Egg hunts

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Friday I was leading a discussion for my discussion group on Erik Erikson’s theory of Psychosocial Development (think book club, but not about books but rather about topics) and more specifically on generativity and finding meaning and identity and sense of power in adulthood. For those who don’t know Erikson’s theory, basically each stage from infancy to old age focuses on a pair of opposing emotional constructs and strengths are yielded from navigating this tension. Generativity vs. Stagnation, Erikson theorized, was the work of middle adulthood. It’s this time where your energy is focused on passing on and giving back. It usually takes on the form of having children, being involved in the world at large in our communities, work, etc. It’s yielding by-products are care and productivity. It’s about contributing and creating a legacy. Still, I think the concept of generativity goes even deeper. The root of the word generativity is generate. To me this period of life is about making stuff, yes babies, careers, PTA carnivals, soccer teams, but also more personal things.
So what about generativity from a spiritual standpoint? Yes we have callings, we serve, and this often gives us a sense of fulfillment in knowing we can contribute. But lately I have been thinking about talents and spiritual gifts as another part of our generative work. We tend to think of talents and gifts in these narrow bands. You know those obvious talents, those spiritual gifts outlined in Doctrine and Covenants. My dad is a patriarch and so we have had some great discussions on the variety of spiritual gifts, and the expansiveness and unlimitedness of them.If God is a God of endless variety, so to are talents and gifts.
I am a big believer in deliberately creating what we want in our lives, and well I was always a fan of the Easter egg hunt– something about amassing all those colorful eggs and opening them to find treasures inside. I remember always beating everyone else in the hunt because well I took my egg hunting very seriously, I was fast, I was thorough, I looked everywhere… and in the end I had one serious mound of eggs. I would beg for hunts year round, something about that seek and find element, and rewards, how I loved those little treasures inside. There is a certain seek and ye shall find element to the easter egg hunt. But so it is with the gifts, lately I have been trying to direct a little more energy to those pursuits. Realizing how many things are ours for the taking. I have always loved 1 Cor. 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual [gifts], seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. So if you want in on the hunt here are few… well if only it was so easy as looking under couch cushions or behind bushes.
Adaptability
Appreciation
Calmness
Caring
Caution
Charity
Commitment
Common sense
Compassion
Compatibility
Concentration
Concern
Confidence
Contentment
Cooperation
Counsel
Courage
Courtesy
Creativity
Dedication
Devotion
Direction
Discerning of spirits
Discernment
Discipline
Discovery
Empathy
Encouragement
Enrichment
Enthusiasm
Excellence
Expression
Faith
Faithfulness
Focus
Forgiveness
Friendliness
Generosity
Guidance
Gratitude
Happiness
Hard working (being)
Healing
Health
Honesty
Honor
Humility
Industry
Influence
Insight
Inspiration
Integrity
Intelligence
Interpretation of tongues
Joy
kindness
Knowledge
Leadership
Listening
Love
Loyalty
Maturity
Meekness
Modesty
Obedience
Opportunities
Order
Organization
Patience
Peace
Peace Maker
Performance (dealing with arts)
Perseverance
Persistence
Preparation
Prophesy
Promptness
Prosperity
Protection
Punctuality
Recognition
Reflection
Reliability
Respectful (being)
Responsibility
Righteousness
Stability
Security
Self control
Self-discipline
Self-reliance
Selfless
Sensitivity
Service
Strength
Supportive (being)
Talents
Teaching
Testimony
Thoughtfulness
Thrift
Tongues
Trust
Understanding
Unselfishness
Virtue
Willingness
Wisdom
Working of miracles

What gifts do you admire in others? What are some of the less common or often over looked ones? Any you are earnestly, zealously seeking?

About Leslie

(Art Director) In her pre-diapering days, Leslie earned an MS in Marriage and Family Studies from BYU. This entitled her to mold the minds of impressionable college students in rambling six-hour lecture courses and travel the world as child life specialist. She now passes the seasons in a quaint Massachusetts town with her husband, Allen, and three young sons. She spends her days encouraging play, championing global causes, and whipping up a mean R2D2 cake. She savors her nights, stealing away to her studio to paint.

10 thoughts on “Spiritual Generativity- Erikson and Easter Egg hunts

  1. Asking the right questions — I have a horrible fear of coming across like I am prying and thus I refrain from any attempts to delve into someone else’s emotions, even when it is clear they are ready to share. I fail to remember that most of the time I am waiting for someone to really show an interest in what I am feeling before opening up — I assume everyone else has enough self-mastery and other friends that if they wanted to share they just would, without promptings, but I think being able to ask the questions that help people open up is a talent.

    Multitasking

    Weeping — I had a YW leader who suggested this to us once, always being the dry-eyed girl at testimony meetings I have always felt the ability to feel spiritual emotion deeply enough to weep is a talent of sorts — I have picked up on the talent a little bit more with age however…)

    Complimenting — I have had friends that are incredibly sincere and detailed in their compliments. So much so that I can’t help but feel a glow at their praise, despite being someone who tends to deflect or justify away most other compliments.

    Your list is amazing. I love the idea of this post.

  2. I went into conference after a bit of a midlife crisis of late (peaking on Friday) asking the question, “Where do I fit in your plans?” Many of the answers were there, others were in my patriarchal blessing and the scripture that I opened to Saturday morning. A primary key for me was discovering my gifts. It’s not something I’ve not thought about; it’s rather a pet subject of mine for the past decade or so. Still, we have to believe what we suspect about ourselves, and that can be a struggle.

    I loved the gifts listed above and in the first comment. These are the ones that I’m trying to believe in for myself:

    healing. I’d like to be confident that what I do with people doesn’t just make them feel better temporarily but helps them reconnect with Christ in vital and more permanent ways. I’d like to have a healer’s soul.

    discernment. I’d like to be confident that what I think I see is true. I’d like to perceive the “why” as often as I perceive the “what” in my life or the life of another whom I’d like to help. I’d like to discern larger pictures, bigger plans, deeper meanings, and begin to see with God’s eyes so that what I offer in help truly helps with bigger things happening.

    That’s my short list.

  3. Impressed by those who exhibit adaptability, and love for chaos especially in the form of children.

    I’m always working on charity, seeing others as god does.

    Love this list!

  4. Those who can let go of things without resentment have always impressed me.

    “Be still and know that I am God,” is a scripture that has brought me many insights about the important things in life.

    I am working at letting go of running after counterfit joy. I try to seek only the Lord’s approval and bend with his will.

    Gratitude in everything (not just when getting my way)is another thing I want to keep developing.

    I felt encouraged in this during conference.

  5. So insightful and inspiring, this post as well as the comments above. I have sadly and honestly not considered this for quite a while.

    Having said that, I admire sincere intellect and the continued development of it.

    Cheerfulness, the kind that comes from peace in God’s plan.

    Quiet, as a talker and raising a loud family, I so admire those you simply observe.

    What a fabulous idea for contemplation-thank you!

  6. Leslie:

    I tend to vascillate between maximizing my strengths and trying to overcome my weaknesses. When I’m maximizing my strengths, I feel great about bringing my talents to the alter and using them to build up the kingdom. When I’m focusing on overcoming my weaknesses, I admire people who possess the talents that are opposite of mine. And sometimes I despair.

    I like your statement: “Realizing how many things are ours for the taking.” I would benefit from doing more positive visualization and then moving towards that vision.

    How great that you can ruminate with the stake patriarch about spiritual gifts. What a great opportunity.

  7. Great list. I appreciate your gift of empowering, inspiring others.

    I desire the gift of discernment to make better choices.

    And lots of other ones. I’ll be looking this over again.

  8. This is so different than what I expected from the picture and title. Thank you for your thoughts. I want to find all those attributes, for sure!

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