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!
The umbrella skills help us get through life’s rainy days and frame the opportunities which come our way. Over the course of February, we have worked together to identify how to build your child’s sense of purpose.
Answer these three quick questions for yourself and then repeat the exercise for your child. Total up the score to take a snapshot of where your child’s sense of purpose is right now.
- My life has meaning. Score: 0, 1, 2, 3
- I believe I can have a positive impact. Score: 0, 1, 2, 3
- Life to me seems exciting. Score: 0, 1, 2, 3
0 – Very seldom or not true of me
1 – Seldom true of me
2 – Often true of me
3 – Almost always true of me
0-3 Your sense of purpose has started to develop. Actively look for ways to practice this important skill. Here are two places to get started: Help your child identify strengths to build purpose, Purpose is an action word.
4-6 Keep working at it. Your sense of purpose is growing. Here are a few places to gather more information about building a sense of purpose: This is how difficulty can help guide us to our purpose, Ask your child ‘why’ to build purpose.
7-9 Your sense of purpose is well developed. Keep it up!
It is often the most difficult moments of our lives that guide us to our purpose.
I had the pleasure of getting together with Mike Coots on a recent trip to Hawaii. Mike was bitten by a shark while surfing many years ago and has since dedicated much of his life to the protection of sharks as well as to helping others with prostheses challenge their limits.
Watching Mike’s story is a great way for you kids to understand how these difficult parts of life can actually be the best things that happened to us. Watch his story here.
Thanks Mike for showing us what this important skill looks like in action! You can learn more about Mike at mikecoots.com.
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 from themselves.
Download a copy of the infographic, above, by clicking here. You can also follow along on our Facebook page for video tips to help you get onboard with your child’s interest!
Helping your child ‘action’ purpose will go much further than just helping them to say the words!
Learn more in today’s purpose building video tip with Dr. Jen below or on our Facebook page.
Purpose is lived in the moments of your life, not the end results.
Help your children understand that each day matters. Every day lived is a chance to love and feel loved, to work hard and play and to find balance.
Teach your children this valuable lesson by modelling it for them as often as you can.