When is the right time to build a sense of purpose in your child?
Every one of us is created with special gifts and abilities and are all here for a reason. None of us is a mistake. Helping your children accept and understand the truth in this and helping them find their way to that reason for being…well, that’s a lot easier said than done.
It all starts about…
The time they are beginning to discover they are an individual. From the time your toddler begins to understand that the world involves interacting with other people besides you and your spouse, you need to help them grow in the purpose of being respectful and kind. To do this, you must a) be these things yourself toward your child and others b) hold your toddler accountable for being these things. To hold the accountable means you will remove them from situations in which they act inappropriately, not reward their misbehavior and praise them when they do fulfill these life-purposes.
From there you will ‘show and tell’ the life-purposes of honesty, grace, acceptance and humility. As for how…re-read the instructions above and apply in like fashion.
But then it hits
Around the time your child starts secondary school the educational system begins hounding and nagging students (that’s right…I said nagging and I meant it) to decide what career path they wish to follow. You’ve got to be kidding! You want a 12-year-old to decide what course of education he wants to take to assure him of a successful career in his thirties? Kids this age don’t need to be worrying about anything more than what to take to the sleepover on Friday night or the soccer game against their best friend’s team.
Nevertheless it happens. Children are hounded to decide upon their purpose. And as a parent, it is your job and responsibility to help them handle the stress this brings-to help them relax and enjoy their childhood (which, by the way, is their life-purpose at this point) while at the same time exposing them to various interests through museums, exhibits, sports, the arts, academic contests and children’s clubs. By doing so you are allowing their eyes to be opened to the world around them and the fact that it will be theirs for the taking as long as they prepare themselves for the task.
It’s okay–they will eventually realise their purpose
Whatever you do, be supportive of their efforts. Being supportive doesn’t mean being blind to their failures and giving false encouragement that they be a star athlete or the next Oscar winner if that’s what they want. Being supportive means to encourage them to explore and dream; to help them realize their talents and where their passions lie…and to grow into a purposeful adult because of them.