Passion, Purpose, and Potential
Purpose is an intention to achieve something or to be someone who makes a difference in the world in a way that is meaningful to you. A sense of purpose is essential to happiness. It can also give your child the energy and strength to overcome obstacles.
When you help your child tap into her passions and develop her gifts and talents, you help her find her natural motivation to learn. When she connects to her essence, she gets knowledge simply from being. She can probably find this internal motivating energy by engaging in something that she can do well—often something that contributes to others, as well. As American theologian, Frederick Beuchner, author of Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC, says, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
What does your child do well? What does she love? What lights her up and sparks her natural curiosity? Does she get excited about nature, music, or playing with puzzles? While recognizing and supporting her weaknesses, you can also reinforce her natural abilities to help her find her unique intelligences and pursue her dreams.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, PhD, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, developed a theory of optimal experience based on the concept of flow—“the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will do it even at a great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.” You know when your child is in a state of flow when she becomes so absorbed and engaged in what she is doing that she is unaware of anything else.
When you build a close relationship with your child that shows you believe in her, she will be confident and open to your support and influence.
You can support your child in being self-directed as she finds her purpose, will, and passion. You can help spark her curiosity by exposing her to a range of experiences—books, music, art supplies, outdoor excursions, and simple toys that inspire imagination. When you build a close relationship with your child that shows you believe in her, she will be confident and open to your support and influence.
Pay attention to her special interests and talents, and take notice of activities that she dislikes or abandons. Encourage and challenge her to develop her skills (such as building with blocks or telling stories), and acknowledge her character traits (such as courage, kindness, and a good sense of humor). When she is involved in choosing her interests, she will be more motivated and persistent in developing her passion and potential. The process of learning through finding purpose, passion, and potential uses your child’s highest mental functions.