If you could go back and relive one moment from your childhood, what would it be? How did it feel? Who were you with? What was on your mind?
We are who we are when we’re doing what we love. We’re not concerned about the past or worried about the future. Our hearts open a little wider, and we’re in harmony with life.
Kids know how to be in the moment. As we grow older, we start wondering if we’re doing it right. We concern ourselves with what others think of us. Our motivations change from having fun to trying to achieve.
For many, there comes a point in adulthood where we wonder who we are and how we got here. We search for purpose. Living with purpose can be taught from childhood, so our kids are confident in who they are and know how to allow their hearts to guide them. It takes pointing out things that may seem obvious. It is necessary to say them aloud so children fully understand the value they bring.
Following are a few ways to help your child to live with purpose. They are not meant to be done at once, so let your own heart decide where is best to start.
Enjoy the simple things in life. Ask your child what their favorite activity is, and then make a plan to do this activity. If it’s something you’re unable to do, such as visit a distant place, then recreate it somehow through imagination or art. While you’re doing the activity, ask your child how they’re feeling. Point out how doing things they enjoy and spending time with people they love is what’s important in life.
They are worthy of love just because. Ask your child three things they like about themselves. Then, tell them three things you like about their personality or character. Remind them that you love them no matter what and to also love themselves exactly as they are. Their worth is not determined by their academic accomplishments, sports scores, activity performance, appearance, or anything else. They are always loved, and nothing they do or don’t do can take away from that.
Dreams guide their path. When we dream from our hearts, we can achieve anything we set our minds to. This is how we live with purpose. Work with your child to create a vision board using a posterboard. Ask them to listen to their hearts and come up with a few things they want to accomplish in the next few months. These may relate to academic, sports, or activity accomplishments, places to go, new things to try, or even feelings they want to experience more, such as happiness or love. Have them cut pictures from magazines or draw their own pictorial representations of these things. Help them hang the vision board somewhere they will see it every day, such as in their bedroom.
Self respect starts with feeling empowered. When we’re always told what to do, we lose faith in our ability to make our own decisions. Allow your child to choose for themselves things like what to wear and which sports or activities to participate in. During conflicts, listen to their side of the story before working with them to resolve it. Take time to sit with them and let them know everyone is equally important. Ask them if there’s been a situation with another kid where they felt smaller than they are. Listen closely to the details, and ask how it made them feel. Let them know how they can respond with love the next time something like this happens. This means letting the other child know they don’t like this behavior. If it continues, they can walk away or tell an adult.
Happiness comes from within. Children will often fixate on having new things such as toys or treats. When they’re reaching for something outside of them to bring them joy, they're forgetting that happiness starts within. Saying “no” is sometimes the best thing we can do for them. The next chance you get to say no, let them know the reason you are saying no. It is because you care for them and want them to learn there’s more value in being grateful for everything they already have than getting new things. Choose a time in the day, such as during dinner or just before bed, to start asking your child three things from the day they are grateful for. Share your three things as well.
Mistakes are growth opportunities. Everyone on the planet is still learning, and we all make mistakes from time to time. No one is perfect. If we always got it right, then there would be nothing left to learn. Rather than looking at mistakes as setbacks, show your child how they are actually moving forward with their mistakes. Ask them to think of a time they made a mistake. What did they learn from it? How are they making different decisions since this experience?