I recently had a talk with my son, asking him what he wanted to be when he grows up. You see this is a conversation I have had multiple times with my children, not as a way to solidify their future career, but rather to see how creative they are. Now that my oldest has entered high-school, I put a little more weight in to his answer. You see he wants to be a Forensic Psychologist. Big words right? What 14 year old even know what that is? Between his favorite TV shows, books, and interests he has, this is the dream job he has created for himself. However, these jobs are few and far to come by. What does this mean for him? I means he needs to focus on his dream- his purpose.
My son happens to be one of the few who have created his roadmap, found his purpose, at least for now. The choices he makes and the work he does directly reflects on his ability to fulfill his dream, which gives him purpose. However many teenagers, and young adults are still without purpose. With so many options and directions to choose, they almost freeze in the details.
Finding purpose is not an easy thing to do. You must first identify your what- what do you want to do with your life, with your career, with your experience? If you don’t know your end dream, then how will you ever make the plan to get there?
Ask a group of high school seniors, or even young adults just out of high school where they see themselves in 10 years. You will probably get a blank stare “That is so far away, I have time to figure it out.” What about 5 years? “Well I will still be pretty young, so maybe by then I will have figured it out.” Well then, what about 1 year? “Probably the same place I am now.” You see without the goal in mind; the end picture, there is no reason to move towards it- because it’s not there.
But how do you inspire the youth you come in contact with? Because at the end of the day that dream has to be theirs, not their parents, not their peers, not society- THEIRS. First, help them to identify their interests, passions, and qualities they already have. Are they really good with kids? Are they good with information, and processing that information? Do they have a natural knack for programing computers? What are the talents they already have? Build on that.
Second, take them to events and productions that align with their natural talents and passions. When you child comes and asks you to go to the next comic-con, don’t just push it aside and say no. Think about why they want to go, who knows maybe they will become the next great comic book artist? If you have a teenager that is always playing video games, turn that habit into a passion. Talk with them about the development of those games, the programming, the art work, the strategy- then maybe enroll them into a class about programming. Maybe you have a child that loves to read, take them to meet different authors, take them to writing clinics.
Finally- embrace who they already are and expand on what is naturally there. Encourage them to learn and grow, and remain a constant supply of positivity in their life. When they stumble, help them to get back on their feet, brush themselves off and continue to move towards that dream.
Kids are resilient, and when they are in a safe, positive environment- they will flourish. Allow them to explore their talents, their passions, and find their dreams- then they will find their purpose.
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