Path to Purpose

Have fallen out of the loop with the WordPress community over the last couple of weeks, and I miss it so much!

However, we’re at the tail of another academic year, and things have been chaotic at work. As we celebrated and graduated another group of high school seniors (Go, Class of 2012!) from our transition-to-college program, I stood behind stage holding my breath as their soon-to-be college homes and scholarship awards were rattled off to the cheering audience inside the University of Southern California’s Tutor Grand Ballroom.

When one of my students surprised me with a thank you speech, I had no words. It’s so easy to get caught up with deadlines and tasks, but what this student recognized, in the middle of all the college applications, essays, deadlines and craziness, is that she was finding and refining her “way.” And that is why I do this, I console myself, when, spent and bone-weak, I wonder how I’m holding up as a mother, a wife, a writer.

Yet, my mission includes helping young people discover and develop their purpose. Some of the kids come with a clearly defined understanding of who they are; others (like many adults) are still combing their way through the tall grasses, seeking high and low, unaware of who they are exactly or where they want to go. This, too, is beautiful, full of opportunity, the glory of excavation. I am filled with pride over the successes of my students, the hope and joy in their eyes. Still, I worry when I see the aimlessness and distrust in the eyes of others, and I wonder: who’s to blame? No child comes into the world stripped of hope. No– it is us– the adults around them– who, layer by layer, peel away their optimism, their trust, their innocence.

If you are looking for a great resource to help you guide a child in your life, check out William Damon’s The Path to Purpose: Helping Our Children Find Their Calling in Life.

“Ultimately, all young people will make their own choices: no one can do this for them. But we can make it far more likely that they will be able to make good choices which provide them with a lifelong sense of well-being. We can offer them possibilities that fire their imaginations, guidance that encourages their highest aspirations, support that helps them realize their aspirations, and a cultural climate that inspires rather than demoralizes them.” –Damon


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