Helping children in finding their purpose

Helping children in finding their purpose

It has been said that children come through you but not from you – you may give them your love but not your thoughts (The Prophet, Khalil Gibran). From this we can denote the importance of lovingly overseeing the growth of a child, but not forcefully dominating or governing their lives. The former allows life to take its natural course, where learning takes place through play and exploration in safe environments – whereas the latter seeks to prescribe and impose old ways of thinking and doing onto new life, omitting vital parts of the learning process. We often project our own fears and perceptions of failure onto new and innocent minds, making them inherit our fears. Ultimately stifling their growth.

For example, when we were younger we may have dreamt of becoming an athlete but life had other plans – we may have gotten injured, had children, pursued school, had to work, had to look after family or a loved one, or perhaps someone talked us out of it. In turn, we tend to mute and subdue any sign of big dreaming that we observe in young ones under our care, since reaching this big dream was not possible for us; so it must not be possible for them either! What a wonderful thing it is then, that children often do not listen to every word but only take what they need, as otherwise we would live in a world without art, without music, without dance and a world without poetry – as the jaded and listless mind of an adult seeks to constrictively dictate the journey of new life.

Though this kind of parental instruction comes from a space of love, informed by life experience and perceived realism, it often has a counterproductive effect as none of us can stop or redirect the natural flow that life needs to take in order for us to grow. The life experience that we gained naturally by virtue of simply living means that we have a responsibility to create a loving space for our children to also acquire their own experience naturally. Allowing them to freely explore their interests and hobbies, it also helps if we take active interest in their interests – even though we may not particularly understand, as we are not apart of their generation.

This does not imply that we should allow children to be reckless and engage in destructive habits – quite the opposite in fact, as when they begin to get in touch with their inner creativity they begin to experience the constructive power that is cultivated within. Trust is a key aspect in this process of exploration. Trust them deeply. Trust life itself deeply. Trust their judgment and intuition deeply. Your trust will be like an angel of protection in their conscience guiding them to make positive and fruitful choices.

In essence, we can never decide what another’s purpose is – it is up to each one’s heart to make that choice. What we can do is to support them and love them fully, whilst displaying and demonstrating the variety of aspects that a healthy life is comprised of. The pure and unconditional love, coupled with the understanding of what a healthy life consists of, will inform their decision to be wholesome. Love inspires.

Books that may help:

Nurturing with Love and Wisdom, Disciplining with Peace and Respect: A mindful guide to parenting

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