Research shows that children rarely find their sense of purpose in things they were told to do by their parents. Instead, purposeful kids attribute their sense of meaning to the menu of options they were exposed to throughout their childhood and their ability to choose for themselves.
We can best support our child’s sense of purpose by noticing their sparks of interest and presenting them with a range of possibilities that align with those intrinsic interests. It’s tempting to think we know what is best for our children, but imposing these ideas on them rarely builds the purpose we were hoping for. Here are some direct tips to help you out:
1. Ask specifically what your child found most interesting in their different school subjects. What was the most interesting unit you did in science this year? Sometimes kids don’t think to share what they like along the way but digging into the details can help them notice their interests. For example, I asked my daughter what she enjoyed most in science and she said the unit on energy and specifically sustainable energy. She hadn’t mentioned it at all as she learned it, but circling back, she now has added that to her list of types of jobs she might like to consider.
2. Have your children rate the summer camps they attend right after the camp finishes. Time does not do great things for our memory. I don’t know about you, but when we go to book summer camps it’s often hard to remember what the kids really liked from the previous summer. By having them rate how much they enjoyed the camps they attended in the moment, it will help you look back and hone in next year’s selections to nurture their interests. I ask my kids for a score out of 100 and a few details of why they gave that score. I keep a record that we can review as the next summer approaches.
Download a copy of an infographic about purpose and getting on board with your child’s interests by clicking here. You can also follow along on our Facebook page for video tips to help you get on board with your child’s interest!
Every story of mastery involves many of the Umbrella Skills. Mastering anything is difficult and always taps into our coping skills.
At the Umbrella Project, we are so fortunate to be able to work with Great Big Story, sharing their amazing videos in the classroom to learn about the Umbrella Skills in action.
Click here to watch this amazing Great Big Story video to review with your child.
Watching stories of mastery with your children and identifying the skills they use is like an instruction manual for how to live with the same bravery. Can you identify the coping skills in this story? What other Great Big Stories do you love? Read our full blog to review and reflect on all the Umbrella Skills.
The best way to learn about mastery is to experience it. Mastering skills is one of the greatest human experiences and fills us with a sense of confidence that we are strong and capable. The more of these experiences we have, the more we develop self-efficacy and the confidence to take on new challenges.
To help your child have more mastery experiences, start by creating a home environment rich with new experiences to explore. Games, toys and puzzles with increasing levels of steps and complexity and a freedom to explore are great options to have around the house. Lego and crafts are great examples of this type of a toy. Steer away from toys that are designed only for distraction. Parents who arrange for their children to experience various forms of mastery are more apt to develop efficacious youngsters who are confident to stretch their wings.
Welcome to June and Mastery month and the Umbrella Project!
Mastery is our ability to work towards excelling at something – our craft, our relationships, our jobs and many others. The early stages of mastery require many of our Umbrella Skills to push through the boredom, fear, impatience and other difficult emotions of the learning journey. Over time, we build strength and confidence and can accomplish great things.
We can’t wait to share the wisdom of some great masters with you this month that will help you support your children in their own journeys to master their lives.
“Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. But it’s the same with that type of artistic activity as with all others: We are merely born with the capability to do it. The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated.” —Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe