have been a Life Coach for close to a decade now. I have consulted with hundreds of people in different countries. Most of these are adults, some with their own families. No matter their walks of life, these people always give me one kind of feedback when we are through with the coaching sessions. They always say,
That is why each of my coaching clients has been charged to make sure that they transfer the knowledge, practice and spirit of “Life By Design” coaching to their children. More than ever before, we need to be focused and intentional about raising Purpose-Driven Children. Why is this important? Well, if we will not be intentional about raising Purpose-Driven Children, chances are that years down the line, people will still be saying the same old song, “I wish someone would have taught me these things earlier”.
In the previous post, we saw the “why” of raising Purpose-Driven Children. We also took some time and saw the effects of not doing so. Further we started by showing how to raise Purpose-Driven Children. The very first thing that we discussed was
Very many people make career choices “because that is where the money is”. People want money but they do not know what to use the money for. There are three things that are important in raising Purpose-Driven Children as far as finances are concerned. Kindly review that post here.
Let not the actions of your children be arbitrary and unexplained. In the post earlier, I shared what Ethan told my wife Beth when she questioned him about what he wanted to do when he is older. Asking Ethan “why” brought into focus a profound truth. Ethan had said he wanted to either be a drummer or a barber. At face value, those choices are not exciting, but wait until you hear the reason behind it. He said, “so that people…” in both instances. That is the most profound reason for pursuing any form of purpose–so that you can make an impact or a difference to “others”.
As you ask your child “why”, please make sure that you take some time and point them towards this aspect of “others” as much as possible. You want to be a barber so that you can make “people’s hair” and so that they can feel happy and look better. That is what Purpose-Driven Children say. Their reason behind what they want is not for themselves, but for others. This should be fostered. Notice here that it makes no difference (for now) what kind of dream the child has, for as long as it points on making the world a better place in the minutest way they can. As of now, that is what they dream. They are still growing. Believe me, that dream will grow. That impact will also grow. As they see the world in a different way while older, their dreams will grow but the purpose will never change—to make the world a better place for others. And in the end, we reward those who make the world a better place for us. We pay them daily—electricity companies, water companies, grocery stores, schools, phone companies, electronic companies etc.
If your child does not link their dream or desire to adding value to people in the world, this is where you come in to raise the that way. Raising Purpose-Driven Children is a conscious effort. You are always on the outlook for such moments to instill purpose in their pursuits. The most common question that your children should learn to answer is “why”. I know they will feel overwhelmed at times with this, but this is the time to get back at them because they are the ones who ask that question more than anybody. I am kidding…but it’s a fact. This leads us to the third point.
A friend of mine has an eight year old who is a consummate inquirer. It turns out that the teachers are labeling hims as proud and difficult to deal with. Why? The boy just can stop asking questions. He wants to know the reason why things are happening, and even after he gets an answer, he has another “why” question coming. You see, this question by kids can be the most daunting to answer. If we are not careful, we will find yourself shutting them down over it. I know that at times a child just asks “why” but they might not have the capacity to understand the reason as you will explain. It is at this point that in a split second, having deciphered that a child will not understand even if you explained, we brush them aside and discourage them from asking more questions. I have never seen such curious people like children. Their curiosity is pure, active, alive and unrelenting. To be honest, this curiosity can tire you out.
So we need to know beforehand what to do when we are asked these questions. The most important thing to do is to make sure that we are not tuning of the dream machine that is inbuilt in our children. I think the worst answer you can ever give a child when they ask you a question is “because I said so!” At times you give a child a directive to do something and they ask you “why?” This can really stretch your patience. It can be irksome sometimes to explain yourself. However, one of the best ways to do this is to have a “review” every evening with the child. At this review, your intention is to make sure that as the child goes to sleep, you have put purpose stuff in pure perspective. It is at this forum that you can review what instructions you asked of them and share your reason behind that. As you do, make sure that you are pointing on the importance of general purpose in life. All of life is to serve one major purpose. From that major purpose are broken down several other “purposes” that are now personalized.
As you keep focusing on explaining the purpose of things, the mind of the child is being wired to naturally incline to attributing things to purpose. We shall continue this discussion in the next post.