As I spent time with a friend today we started talking about helping our kids become motivated. The more we talked I was hit with an a-ha.
“Do you think your son knows what his purpose is?” I asked.
There was a long pause.
And for both of us it was as if the dawning of what I had just spoken took root. In fact, as I look back to when one of my kids was in middle school, I wish I had understood the power of purpose better.
One of the things our kids need to discover and learn is how life fits together for them.
- Where do they fit within their family?
- Who among their friends have similar interests?
- What strengths and gifting do they possess?
- What do they enjoy doing outside of having fun?
Having our kids explore their dreams and passions allows them to examine what will motivate them and it helps them discover who God created them to be.
Fitting in the family is where we connect and feel included. We all need to have responsibilities within the family unit. Knowing the expectations and boundaries within the family gives all of us a sense of security in knowing how we all fit together.
Understanding how we connect to friends along with our interests, strengths, and gifting helps us know where we fit within the outside world. Enjoyment for mere pleasure is different than enjoyment in terms of adding value to other’s lives. All of us need to feel a sense of belonging such that our part helps someone else do what they do better for the greater good.
Our kids are no different. They need to understand where they fit in to serve not to be served.
There is no purpose in being or taking.
Our purpose is in doing for others. It is the key to motivation. It impacts us on the soul level.
So how can we give our kids a sense of purpose?
Give them responsibility that they can get excited about. Now don’t get me wrong, kids do need to have responsibility for things that they don’t enjoy. Homework, cleaning their room, emptying the dishwasher, and taking out the trash are certainly not things that most kids enjoy, but they are character building and do teach responsibility.
What I’m talking about are things that move them closer to their dreams of the future. The things that bring them soul excitement.
When it comes to our unmotivated 20-somethings, I wonder if it is because they haven’t discovered their purpose. Stuck in sometimes dead-end jobs, are they discouraged because they don’t see hope of a better future? Yes, they are earning money for survival, but are they wondering if this is all there is to life? Maybe they are disheartened at where life seems to be taking them rather than pursuing the undiscovered passion that is deep within.
A while back I had what I will call an unmotivated 20-something. Doom and gloom would at times surround him like a heavy cloud of darkness. He just couldn’t see the future in any positive light. Then several things happened that changed his outlook.
- He made a new friend who gave him a glimpse of what his life could look like.
- We started talking about his future. What could life look like in 2-3 years that would seem exciting?
- We talked about different steps to get there and the likelihood that all of them might not be fun.
- And I asked him to take one step toward his future.
And it was amazing the change I began to see. He took one step and saw success. Then he took another and another. Rather than feeling discouragement and frustration, he began to see the possibilities and embraced them as his own.
He saw his future.
He saw how it fit together.
As he made mistakes or failed, we talked about the learning that was occurring in terms of maturity and I reminded Him of the successes.
And he knew his life had purpose. He had purpose.
He began to embrace his dream with a new passion.
If we truly believe that God is in charge of our lives and He created each and every one of us for His purpose, then helping our kids discover what their purpose is points them back to their creator and will motivate them toward the deeds He set for them before the beginning of time.