The best gift we can give our children is not found in a store and costs no money. Unfortunately, it is also something they will probably not truly appreciate until well into adulthood. However, our role as parents is not to give our kids immediate gratification. As a result, I argue this is the best gift by far: A desire for a purpose. This is one of the most basic human needs and notice I did not say purpose by itself, but a desire for a purpose.
If you try to give your children a specific purpose, they may rebel, not enjoy it, or it may be something that is only temporarily applicable. However, a desire for a purpose will carry them through their entire life, no matter the season or their age. If they desire to have a purpose, they will find one because in this world there are plenty. There will never be a shortage.
The tough part for many young adults is the decision of picking one. This is where it is incumbent upon us to explain to them that the purpose does not need to be perfect and it does not need to last forever. They also do not need to know they are or will be good at it before they try it. Failure is an essential part of a successful life. No one who has achieved any measure of success has escaped the hands of failure. The key is to not let our children stay in the grips of it.
As long as our children desire a purpose, they are not reliant on success. If they fail, they simply need to turn their desire elsewhere. As long as our children have this desire, they will work hard toward any other needs that are required to achieve their purpose. Purpose is what gives our life meaning. Purpose is not static and is not one dimensional or mutually exclusive from anything else. Purpose is constantly evolving, growing, waning, transforming, or begging for attention. These kids just need to want it! Watching our children realize, mold, and develop their purpose: that is their gift to us.
With a desire for my kids’ desire,
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