On Becoming an Elder

by Harley Voogd

“In late adulthood [65+] a man can no longer occupy the center stage of his world. He is called upon, and increasingly calls upon himself, to reduce the heavy responsibilities of middle adulthood and to live in a changed relationship with society and himself. Moving out of center stage can be traumatic. A man receives less recognition and has less authority and power. His generation is no longer the dominant one. As a part of the ‘grandparent’ generation within the family, he can at best be modestly helpful to his grown offspring and a source of indulgence and moral support to his grandchildren. But it is time for his offspring, as they approach and enter middle adulthood, to assume the major responsibility and authority in the family. If he does not give up his authority, he is likely to become a tyrannical ruler — despotic, unwise, unloved and unloving — and his adult offspring may become puerile adults unable to love him or themselves.”

~from The Seasons of a Man’s Life by Daniel J. Levinson, page 35

Further reading: On Eldership – Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

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