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How to Instill a Sense of Purpose in Kids

With COVID-19 and distance learning taking over our day to day lives, parents and teachers need to help kids gain a sense of purpose by encouraging them to explore their interests and values, set and meet goals, and through the utilization of innovative SEL programming.

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As the school year begins, parents and teachers are both working hard to establish a sense of normalcy and a safe learning environment for the children under their care. Whether distance learning or in the classroom, education in the COVID-19 era is inevitably daunting for kids of all ages. Almost 93 percent of families with school-age children reported at least some form of distance learning during COVID-19, according to the United States Census Bureau. Children’s ways of life have changed dramatically, and with this major upheaval comes uncertainty that can leave them feeling lost. To combat this uncertainty, the Empowering Confident Youth team has put together a few ways to instill a sense of purpose in children, which will carry them through the trials of today’s world.

Explore Personal Interests and Values

As a Parent

One of the best things you can do as a parent to help your child plant the seeds of purpose is to encourage them to explore their personal interests and values. After all, how can they set goals or make choices for themselves if they don’t even know what they like or what they believe? Perhaps they want to paint, sing, or learn a new skill. Whatever their interests, allow them to try, possibly fail, and move onto new interests. Their passions will change as they grow, so don’t be discouraged when they pick up something new.

As a parent, you want to instill values in your children, which is a good thing. Just remember, your children’s core values will be as unique as they are, and their motivations will be different from yours. Ask them what they believe, what’s most important to them, and why—without judgment.

As a Teacher

Helping your students explore their personal interests and values as a teacher can be a bit tricky, depending on your schedule. One option is to have your students work on a creative project that ties into your curriculum. For example, as an elementary teacher, you could have them keep a daily journal where they write about their interests and core values and their pursuit of them. Or, as a high school science teacher, you could have them work on a science project based on a personal interest like basketball or video games.

Setting Goals and Making Purpose-Driven Choices

As a Parent

Good grades, participation in an extracurricular, and a good diet: while these are worthy goals for children to have, they are the bare minimum and are usually set by parents. Nothing fills a kid with purpose more than setting their own goals and making choices that help them reach said goals. Sit down with them and discuss their goals in detail. Perhaps they want to join the debate team, but they have trouble getting their ideas across in front of a crowd. Have them write down two to three actions they can take to improve their public speaking ability, and help them set up a schedule to carry these actions out. For additional tips and guidance on how to help your child—and yourself!—live with purpose, check out It’s Time to Start Living with Passion!, an inspiring book that can help anyone combine their skills and interests to create a life they love.

As a Teacher

School is a great place to learn to set goals and accomplish them, but for many students, it can feel like a never-ending struggle and even pointless. As a teacher, you already do your best to make the classroom an exciting place and instill the importance of education. You may find it helpful, however, to sit down with students and make an action plan where they choose their goals, write down why they want to achieve said goals, determine steps they can take, and establish a schedule.

Empower a Child Today!

Teachers and parents: it’s time to reignite passion and purpose in the children we care for and help them grow into courageous and successful adults. The Empowering Confident Youth program helps your kids develop a goal-driven attitude through a modern social-emotional learning curriculum that is easy for teachers and parents to implement. Get a free sample, become a pilot school, or check out our homeschool program today!

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