“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Purpose pulls. It’s what compels you to do, to create, to explore and discover.”
Purpose is your reason for existing. It’s the accumulation of all the parts of yourself – all the things that make you who you are – put together in the form of something that impacts not just yourself, but others around you, your community, and the world.
“Research suggests that young people rarely have a sense of purpose—but we can take steps to help them cultivate it.” KENDALL COTTON BRONK
Working within public education there’s multiple ways we can show young adolescents the power of purpose, the earlier the better. Starting with the definition and then giving them the tools to taking on a life with meaning:
FIRST, YOU HAVE TO MODEL PURPOSE
Whether you’re an educator or a coach, it’s extremely important that we’re a great example of showing inspiration and direction of where we’ve been and what we’ve done to master where we’re at and why we enjoy what we do.
“Rarely do we share the things that give our own lives purpose, but doing so is critical. Not only does it help introduce adolescents to the language of purpose, but it can also help them begin to think about the things that give their own lives purpose.”
NEXT…FOCUS ON STRENGTHS AND VALUES
Understanding their strengths and values will help support your mission to providing them the tools to master these goals. Helping them plan and sketch their own blueprints to how they will reach their objectives is pertinent to their success.
THEN, FOSTER APPRECIATION
Reflection is powerful in fostering gratitude and therefore, journaling is a concrete way for teens to acknowledge the blessings that come through having meaningful goals and objectives. It’s also a great way for them to see growth!
AND, ENCOURAGING YOUTH TO REACH OUT TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Encouraging children to be aware of their achievements and have healthy habits of goals is important, however the individuals inspiring them to do so are also very much significant towards their progress. Parents, teachers, coaches, grandparents, neighbors, etc., can make a profound difference in the way children see themselves as being successful and having mindful, positive purpose.
Strike up a conversation with at least five adults who know them well, asking:
(1) What do you think I’m particularly good at? What are my greatest strengths?
(2) What do you think I really enjoy doing? When do you think I’m most engaged?
(3) How do you think I’ll leave my mark on the world?
LASTLY, FOCUS ON THE BIGGER PICTURE
Get kids to open up about how they expect to see themselves after high school and college. Challenging them to imagine what they will be doing in the near future sets up a realistic conversation, one that hopefully propels them to consider some of the more difficult scenarios that can hinder their success as adults.
“Live the Life of Your Dreams: Be brave enough to live the life of your dreams according to your vision and purpose instead of the expectations and opinions of others.” ― Roy T. Bennett,
“If you have a strong purpose in life, you don’t have to be pushed. Your passion will drive you there.” ― Roy T. Bennett,