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find your WHY

find your WHY

Everyone needs a sense of purpose in their life or their why. The why is what helps us get up every morning. In an article by KQED, William Damon of the Stanford Center of Adolescence, and author of The Path to Purpose, states that purpose is critical and is different than passion or ambition.

“Purpose is critical, because it is linked to dedication, energy and resilience — “psychological goods,” Damon said, that most aspire to. “Purpose is the number one, long-term motivator in life,” according to Damon. Unlike passion or ambition, which focus on the self, purpose touches on the needs of the wider world.”

Helping young people to identify their calling can be very beneficial to set them on the right path. Parents can be a great influence and can provide guidance for their children in the following ways.

express what your work means to you

Of course, making money is a great motivator for working at any job multiple hours a week, but expressing what you love about work around them can help them understand that work is about more than just making a dollar. Do you love helping others? Are you providing for your family and that makes you happy to go to work? Are you helping animals? Try to point out and express the reasons why you go to work other than just for monetary gain.

work is not the only place to find purpose

If work is solely just for monetary gain for you, try expressing other things that are your purpose. Work is not the only place one can find purpose. Some people find purpose in their families, their community, competing in sports, playing music, or something else. Purpose positively affects those around us. It’s more than just self-gain or monetary gain, and when children see that drive in their parents or adults they’re around, they will see that there is more to life and everyone has their own calling.

have regular dialogue

Regular dialogue with children can really open up the awareness of what children find to be meaningful to them. It’s not enough to just have an annual discussion about what purpose is and the importance of it. Why not try to ask them regularly of their opinions on various topics? For example, a parent can ask what a child thinks about a movie, a book, or even a news story. With attentive listening, the answers to these questions will give parents hints about what their children truly value. William Damon writes, “When we evoke from children their own nascent ideas about what they find meaningful, we become better able to hear their first murmurings of purpose.”

let them follow their own path

According to Damon, “you can’t write the script of life for your child”. No one has written the script of your own life but yourself. At least, that’s the ideal state of purpose, is it not? I’m not living my day-to-day of my parent’s dreams. I followed my own purpose and path to get to my calling. While it’s hard for parents not to want to greatly influence, or guide their children towards a path they see best suited for the child, it may just hinder the child from finding their purpose faster via a path of least resistance. Listen to their values, and allow them to follow and act on their own calling.

books that can help teach kids purpose

Guide your children on a journey of self-discovery with these thought-provoking books. Through compelling narratives and inspiring characters, these stories help young readers explore their passions, identify their values, and uncover their unique "WHY" in life.

coloring fun

Please enjoy this free Tot Tails coloring page to help share this message with your child.

Download PDF • 174KB

share with us

We would love to hear your experiences and advice on helping empower your little ones to find their purpose, pursue their dreams, and make a positive impact on the world around them. Are there any books or resources you feel can help? Thanks so much for reading and feel free to comment below!


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