Whenever I pack my suitcase for a trip, I check the weather at my destination and keep in mind the activities I will do there. Then I lay out my clothes on the bed and when I’m satisfied that I didn’t forget anything, they go into the suitcase. Generally speaking, I know what I will need.
But what about packing for children?
Most of them are not nearly as organized. And those who will be later in life aren’t developmentally ready to pack their own suitcases yet.
In this series on life purpose, we’re looking specifically at their journey toward meaning and happiness.
Fortunately, we have concrete data provided to us by the children themselves. Their blueprint—their abilities, strengths, talents, purpose, divine connection, subject matter they like working with, way of relating to others, and more—is within them already. These give us important clues about what they will need packed in their suitcases on their journeys toward meaning and happiness.
In order to know what they will need, we’ve been watching them since birth with an eye toward discovering their innate gifts and passions and potential. For instance, what can you see in the examples below?
A nine-year-old girl climbs higher up into the tree than any of the other dozen or so children at the party in the park. She nimbly climbs way up into the thin branches and then shouts joyfully down to make sure the adults are paying attention and acknowledging her progress.
What do you know about this girl– just based on two sentences? What talents and skills does she possess? What kind of affirmation is she (literally in this case) asking for? What does she not naturally see on her own?
A six-year-old boy has been dragged around to big event after big event because all of his extended family is in town for a wedding. He doesn’t say much, but watches carefully. Finally, after discovering that he has yet another gathering to attend, he bursts into tears and cannot stop crying. His parents make an unscheduled stop at a library to give him time to sit in a quiet corner and read.
What do you know about this boy? What would you guess has been going on inside his head? How could you encourage him to process all of his observations? What are his parents teaching him about self-care?
Based upon your knowledge of the children, what do we pack so they have what they need to find purpose and happiness?
- Lessons and coaching
- Experiences and activities
- Tools and materials
- Individuals and groups
- Self awareness and self care
- Knowledge and wisdom
For example, the girl may need lessons in caution. She may also need to be given a wider berth of experiences and activities to play to her strengths. The boy may need “permission” to practice regular time alone to take care of himself. He may also need a creative outlet for processing all of his observations.
Knowing the uniquenesses of the children helps you pack the right items in their suitcases–the ones they will need on their journey.
Next week: Be aware of your dream to raise impressive children
Tweetable: What are we packing for our child’s journey toward meaning and happiness? Find six essentials here. Click to Tweet