In the end, it will not be what we talked about, but what we did, how we acted, where we put our time and energy, because by everything we do we model and mentor what we value. Our lives speak loudly.
In maturity, when life's experiences
Have created the container for wiser choices
Yes is the most profound of choices
Yes to purpose and intention. . .
Yes to vigour, to excitement and spontaneity
Yes to colour, to laughter, to joy and to wonder.
Yes to being …to growing…
To giving and getting.
Yes to life!
Excerpt from the poem Yes (2)
Both quotes from Journeys of Second Adulthood by Geraldine Schwartz
The Living Legacy Project is a commitment of the Principals and founders of the Institute for Ethical Leadership, Desmond Berghofer and Geraldine Schwartz. It is described here as their own personal statement.
“In the last two decades we have worked with leaders in business, government and community organizations to assist them in developing positive leadership qualities. In those years we learned a great deal from some of the extraordinary people we met as well as from the preparation of our workshops and seminars. We have come with vibrant good health to the part of our journey when others in our society who, having worked hard, are ready to take themselves off the main road of life for the well deserved long term vacation some call retirement. However, because our work has been creative, entrepreneurial and unique there is no readymade structure or solution to pass on the wisdom so hard learned along the way. We have to invent the structure and the Living Legacy Project is our solution.
“In the 21st century when people arrive at their seventh, eight or even ninth decades with much learning to pass on, and with the health, energy and enthusiasm to do so, it would be a great waste to leave the main road where this knowledge could contribute to the benefit of society in general.
“Thus, we have decided to reinvent ourselves for the next decade's journey and in so doing enjoy the rich experience it produces for us as well as leave a legacy for others. It is one model of the way to use these vibrant years while continuing to live and work on the main road. The long term vacation will have to wait.
“Our youth oriented culture undervalues life as years pass. Nature images abound: We are a seed…a bud… a flower…a wilted blossom…dry petals crumbling…dust to dust. We are compared to seasons: born in spring, flourish in summer, fade in autumn, die in winter. What an over simplification!
“We are not plants destined only to grow and propagate the next generation. We are born and meant to grow continuously, some of us until we draw the last breath at whatever age. And we have a unique contribution to make.“But somewhere along the way we come to a turn in the road where our focus changes from personal preoccupations to the larger issues of life. We see the long view, the fuller picture, and we want to contribute to the growth, to the well-being, to the meaningful life experiences of the next generation. Erik Erikson called this time the ‘age of generavity.' We would like to call it the ‘age of the soul.' It is in these ‘giving back' years, regardless of age, when we enter soul time.
“Various names have been given to people of any age observed to be living in soul time. One of these is the Jewish concept of a ‘Mench,' a decent person who sees the higher possibility in all people, who can be counted on to do the right thing regardless of cost.
“It is this higher ground value of service to others, of compassion and respect, that underlies the work of ethical leadership as envisaged and practiced through our Institute. It is the essence of the qualities presented in the Ethical Leadership Scales. It is thus the intention and mission of the Living Legacy Project to act to pass on…to share…indeed, to give away joyfully, the ideas and wisdom gleaned over a lifetime so that they become of practical use to others.
“Further, and most importantly, this is an outreach project and a talent search for the most competent people we can find so that they can pass on what they learn, fashioned by their own unique talents, to the field and areas of influence in which they live and work.”
There are several parts to the process of building the Living Legacy Project:
As the ethical leadership agenda becomes anchored in business and professional sectors, the intention is to move the process into the general community so that it can be used in small groups of every kind as well as in non profit societies whose work is in synchrony with the values of ethical leadership.
Recognizing that many of the people who serve in this way do not have the funds themselves to pay for this training, the intention is to make it available at the minimum cost of putting on the events and to find sponsors who would support it.
The community leaders will be nominated and selected for this program based on two criteria:
Drs. Berghofer and Schwartz have made a start in defining the new discipline of ethical leadership, which is described more fully in its own section on this website. The intent is to produce study materials for use in workshops and in more in-depth courses of study that will allow leaders to emerge who can continue to mold, extend and enhance this process for the future.
Discussions are needed with those who have the responsibility to train leaders through university studies. Drs. Berghofer and Schwartz would be pleased to begin such dialogue at anytime and invite contact to do so.
“It has been our task to begin the study and development of ethical leadership with the view to engage others in the teaching, sharing and enhancing of this important contribution to improving human relationships and in protecting and preserving our environment as a legacy for future generations. This is the essence of the Living Legacy Project, which we look forward to sharing with people everywhere.”
Now, looking inward
over a lifetime's
let us celebrate
our time of grace,
and gathering a power
earned of long experience,
let us dare
to think new thoughts,
to love profoundly,
to work hard
to believe fiercely,
with great compassion,
and to vision a future
more wondrous than anything past,
and for the children of
this world and time.
Now, that the power of mind and heart
burst with Amazon spirit
new solutions for a troubled planet,
let us embark
with adventurous heart
on a journey
so wisdom based,
so soul focused
that even the gods
and the angels would applaud.
Who will embark with me
on this voyage
of the new champions?
Who will write our story?
Who will record the glory
reflected in our faces
and heard in our voices?
Now we are old enough,
Now we are wise enough
Let us seize the moment!
Journeys of Second Adulthood: A Woman's Search for Higher Ground