Living On Purpose
The whole concept of living on purpose didn’t become a real one until I hit 40. Some how, every moment of my time became critical. How I spend each day is more important than it used to be, and how I spend it with is even more important.
I read in a recent Wall Street Journal article that kindergarteners in Germany don’t learn alphabet and other skills American children begin learning until 6 years old. Instead, children in Germany are given the opportunity to bond with nature, to develop survival skills that American children don’t focus on until later in childhood, such as how to survive alone in the wild. I’m not suggesting either, as I can see good and challenge in both.
What the article did create in me was a sense of sadness when it comes to purpose and how it’s not a topic children are taught. I do believe that special programs and schools, including magnet and charter schools, are helping children understand their own uniquenesses in a sea of similarities, but there’s much left to do. As a child, it was common place for me to hear that children are the future, and that we were all special, and learning a new art was also expected. However, purpose was not why we as children were taught to master something, and having raised three children of my own, helping them through all sorts of assignments, and volunteering in schools, I know for sure purpose is not on the main agenda today. We were taught to master something because doing so would help us maintain a competitive edge when it was our time to rise and shine, whether in grade school, college, and ultimately the workforce.
I think we’ve been taught to believe that we can only understand our purpose once we’ve lived, but I think there’s something to understanding what purpose is very early in life, and how we can find our purpose as we mature. One of my earliest reading lessons focused on context clues. I loved context clues assignments because it was all about figuring out the meanings of things based on what I was familiar with around them. Context clues assignment left some gray area for me to fill in, based on my own understandings which I had gathered prior to the assignment. And, I always found that context clues answers were obvious when we really dissected each part of the examined excerpt. That, to me, lends itself to finding our purpose early in life. While we may not start out with the answer, we can build upon our understanding of life’s meaning based upon familiar experiences, past and present.
While finding our purpose is one untapped area, living on purpose is altogether different, and greater. So, this means that once we do understand those context clues of life, we’re willing to do something about it; move toward it, embrace it, learn from it, and dwell in it unapologetically.