t is in the moments of transitions in life that our direction towards purpose is shaped. Yet the greatest loss we have world wide is when families miss on such opportunities of managing the transitions of children from one level to another. It is not just the children that go through transitions, the parents also do. The greatest and yet most silent cry all over the world is by young people who are transitioning into reality of life.
Don’t take my word for it. Set up an interview with any young person, most especially just out of school, and ask them this two worded question: “What’s next?” You will find out .
I keep insisting that there is nothing in the world that lacks purpose. How much so the crown of creation itself–the human being! Each child, each mother and each father have both a generic and specific function to fulfill for which they were created. In fact, [ictt-tweet-inline]I am a firm believer that the reason for the existence of a family is to nurture potential and purpose. There can be no higher or other calling for the family than this.[/ictt-tweet-inline]
The problem with the family is that we have abdicated it’s major and main function to the school system and other outside forces. Within the family setting these days, the greatest vacancy to be filled up is for true purpose mentors. We have huge TVs, Video Games, Smart phones, “work” and our busyness that has taken over that role. Fewer parents and guardians these days mention purpose in their conversation with the young people if any.
Is it any wonder that we have a “lost generation” so to speak?
Imagine if our kids were filled with the message of purpose from the word go?
Consequently, we will have better people in society who are self motivated, driven by their sense of purpose. That my friend, seems to be so simple a formula. Well, it actually is. It is straight forward…but it is not simple. It is what was intended from the word go.
“Be careful little eyes what you see…” is a nursery rhyme that many people know. What we are not aware is that we got it all wrong. It is not the little eyes that ought to be careful. It actually is the big eyes that should be warned.
The reason therefore why many people are purposeless is because those who went ahead of us are purposeless too! As a parent, you need to stay on purpose. Seek it, clarify it, refine it and keep at it. Somehow, it will rub off the kids. Easy isn’t it?
Ever seen a dog listening for a curious noise? It’s ears are all up. That’s the stance we need to take in the family. From the word go, be on the lookout to see what each member of the family gravitates towards. My wife for example is a gifted musician. She wants to do many things such as have a business, travel the world, lead people towards God and so on. I want her in a recording studio every week if possible. The same applies to the children. As they grow up, learn to identify what they are passionate about or what they are gifted in. My daughter Serah saw a children production in church. She wept all through the service because she was not part of it. From that day on, every time we go to church she asks about being part of a dance. You think it’s the devil directing her? Hardly. My part is to take note of such small nudges and lean in on them.
Sadly as I grew up, they kept comparing me and my intelligence of lack of it to that of my brothers. We had no sister. Yet each of the five of us are gifted totally uniquely and differently. The biggest mistake we do as parents is to try and gauge children with the same standard–education. [ictt-tweet-inline]I am not belittling formal education but sad to say that it seldom is the best yardstick to unearth purpose.[/ictt-tweet-inline] This is what I call “equalization”. Desist from it. Each child, nay, each member of the family is unique. There can be on SI unit of purpose in the family. The only comparison we ought to do is to those who are deploying their unique purpose, not so as we can copy the purpose, but the attitude of staying on course with it.
From as young as they can understand, we need to start telling our children about their purpose. It would even be much better if we figured out what our purpose as a family is. Then we have a purpose statement and share with them on a consistent basis. Stop rolling your eyes. This is serious. I see many corporate leaders drafting massive corporate visions but they lack personal and family vision. How sad that is.
We need to tell them that they are worthwhile and have value based on what they were created to do. We need to deliberately spur that fire of purpose (it’s embers exist in every soul) into a mighty fire. We need to nudge them to be curious and ask questions that will help them clarify it. Please note that this does not happen in a year. It happens throughout their life. Then we need to go out of our way and instruct them as far as purpose is concerned deliberately.
Each action, each project and endeavor that our children take, especially as they grow older has to be questioned to answer satisfactorily this question: “Why?” My child might come to ask me to go out clubbing with his friends for example. No problem. Can he or she answer to her own satisfaction the “why” question?
This is the mother of it all. If someone tells me that they do not know their purpose, I ask them to go serve someone in need with what they have (gifts, talents and resources). From the word go, we need to inculcate that aspect in our children that we exist to make life better for someone else. When we start looking at life from that angle, we tend to move closer and closer to our purpose faster than sitting down to figure out what it is. Yes we ought to figure it out, but the easiest way is to find out whose pain causes you to be drawn with compassion to them and at the same time be absolutely livid with anger towards what is causing that pain. Viola!
Kids can put great demands on us. Even just this week, Ethan told me that he wants to be a football star. This is a guy who loves playing drums and is given to music and electronics. Well, that is Ok to dream. The problem is that we think that we are the only people needed in the equation to make the dream fruitful. So we look at our pockets and bank accounts and we get discouraged. Then when our kids come to us voicing their dreams, we shut them down calling those dreams impossibilities. Right then and there, we turn off the dream machine of these precious ones. Cry oh beloved parent. Let’s stop this. Let’s encourage them to dream. A good percentage of those dreams are linked to purpose.
My wife and I discovered a cable TV that has “Da Vinci Kids”. This channel is full of educational and fun programs for kids. We are so in love with it and the kids love it too. So when it is their time to watch TV, of all the kids channels that are available, they choose Da Vinci Kids 70% of the time. In fact, when Ethan asks me if he needs to watch TV, I tell him to start with that channel. When he wants to watch an animation movie on my laptop, I ask him to start with a worship video (to nurture is music ear). My point is simple: We must be extremely deliberate about the environment that we set up at home. It will dictate whether we are building a culture of purpose or not.
There you have it.