According to psychologist Erikson’s theories of personality development, age 35 to 55 is the life stage of Generativity vs. Stagnation.

Generativity is a strong sense of having “made a mark”, being concerned with the next generation, wherease adults that do not feel this develop a sense of Stagnation, feel little connection to others, and generally offer little to society.

Having my nephews here this week, Mark and I are really enjoying our attempts at shaping their young lives. It’s a good feeling, and I can only imagine how it will feel as we watch our own kids mature. Austin and Derek have always been such a big part of our family. They were born when my sister was still a teenager, and right when Mark and I started dating. We love having them in our home and “playing parents” for a bit each summer.

This week, we are seeing these boys are growing into incredible young adults. Austin showed up with a notebook to show me: in it, he revealed the complete story and song lyrics for a musical he has written. He just graduated 8th grade. Derek and I have had a blast learning the lyrics to my new favorite musical – In The Heights. We’ve listened to it at least 10 times this week. He just graduated 5th grade and has aspirations to be a pastor like Mark.

Mark and the boys have played lots of golf this week, which they are really loving. Austin has always struggled with asthma, and finding a sport he could feel confident with has been difficult. It’s been so fun to watch him take to this game, and he just signed up for the golf team at the high school he will attend next year. Mark also took them to meet with their financial advisor. Yes, they really have one. SO CUTE! Mark set up some mutual funds for them a few years ago, and every year when they come out, they get dressed up in business attire and meet with their advisors, who tells them how their portfolio is doing. They get to choose the funds, and we match any money they contribute. This year, Austin came out with $50 he had saved – which is quite a lot given their family situation. I love that Mark is showing them the values of investing that his own dad instilled in him.

We have also been trying to introduce some healthy foods to the boys – who usually subsist on . . . well, let’s just say they eat differently than we do. This week, they’ve tried avocado, hummus, sprouted bread, spinach, zuccini, peaches, collard greens, kale, sweet potatoes, agave, carrot juice, and whole-grain pasta for the first time, and they have liked all of it. I love seeing them discover that healthy foods taste good. Derek has also been using my elliptical every day, and every few minutes reports to me how many calories he has burned. (At least someone is using that thing).

This afternoon, Austin was looking through the chord charts on my piano. He is an amazing little singer and so I taught him some simple chords so he can start to play along. He’s still playing in root position but he’s catching on quickly. I remember learning to do this myself and I know that if he keeps it up, he will be leading worship in a couple of years.

Austin and Derek – We love watching you grow, and we love being a part of it. We are SO proud of you and the young men you are becoming!! It is truly OUR JOY to be a part of it.