As parents, we understand that having a strong PURPOSE inspires us to perform better. When we are doing a task for a higher good, we are moved to do it more effectively. This higher purpose behind our actions motivates us and improves whatever it is we do. Shouldn’t we try to instill this lesson to our children?

Adults often think that talking to young children about purpose is beyond them. I want to encourage you to help your children have a greater sense of purpose to their actions in order to help bring out their best.

In his popular series “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids”, Sean Covey lists habit number two as: “Begin With the End in Mind.” Along with this habit, he encourages young kids to have a plan, set goals, do things that have meaning and make a difference. When beginning with the end in mind, we get a perspective with purpose that adds meaning and motivation to what we are doing. It is also a relatively easy lesson to teach to our kiddos. For example, I tell my four year-old son that we don’t walk into the street because we love him and don’t want him to get hurt (it isn’t just “because I said so”). When he understands the purpose, he can see and understand that the discipline we give as an act of love.

The Bible tells us that “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov 29:18). This verse emphasizes the importance of knowing WHY we are doing what we are doing. For there to be greatness, the focus begins with the WHY. In his book, “Start With the WHY”, Simon Sinek explores why some people and organizations are more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others – why some command greater loyalty. (Watch Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk) In studying the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world, Sinek discovered that they all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way – and it’s the complete opposite of what everyone else does. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers might have little in common, but they all started with WHY. These leaders had great PURPOSE fueling their actions which made all the difference in the end. For example, while the Write brothers didn’t have nearly the same resources as their competitors, they had a stronger motivation which allowed them to be the “first in flight!”

I like to look at and explain my purpose as “having a Greater YES.” I line up my priorities and say “YES” to things that lead towards my ultimate goals and essential purpose and “NO” to those that lead away. I can illustrate this perspective with an example from my soccer career. When some classmates in college wanted to know why I would often say “no” to their party invitations, I would say that “I am not saying ‘no’, but ‘YES’ to being prepared for my soccer training in the morning.” My faith in God comes first, and Heaven is my Essential Purpose. When tempted to a lesser calling which contradicts this goal (such as sin, cursing, losing my temper, sloth, pride, etc.), with God’s grace, I don’t just say “no” to these distractions/obstacles, but YES to eternal life with God. My wife and I do our best (at whatever level they are capable of understanding) to help teach our children this perspective. It is POWERFUL!

Creating a Greater YES, Starting with the WHY, Beginning with the End in Mind, having Vision and Goals, adds meaning, PURPOSE, motivation and inspiration to our lives. Purpose inspires Greatness! One thing that families can do in order to instill this perspective in their family is to create a “Family Mission Statement.” This is similar to a mission statement for a company where as it is meant to help be a clear vision for the family and establish guidelines for behaviors and actions. Your Statement should include ideals and virtues to aspire towards such as: Obedience, Kindness, Empathy, Courage, Attitude, Prayer, Effort, Generosity, Patience, Fun, Charity, Faith, etc. It can be accompanied by “Family Rules”. It is important that the children understand that the Rules are there to serve the Mission Statement (and not there to punish). Kids are smart – they are always asking WHY? As parents, we must know why we do what we do, and it should be out of love. We discipline (lead, teach, guide) our kids out of the love we have for them. It takes a bit more effort to explain and help your child see that you are guiding them to be better for their own good (and not just punishing them). This effort is very important for kids and must be practiced.

If we don’t know where we are going, we are lost! Many of us already understand the great importance of instilling direction and PURPOSE in our lives (although we often neglect it). I hope we can teach this crucial lesson to our children as well.

God bless!


In measuring success and achievement, Angela Duckworth’s research aligns with the “10,000 hour rule” that Malcomb Gladwell made famous in his book “Outliers.” Both Duckworth and Gladwell illustrate how 10,000 hours is the baseline time commitment required to become a contender and master in a certain field. However, one of the distinctions between someone who succeeds and someone who is just spending a lot of time doing something is this: PRACTICE MUST HAVE A PURPOSE. That’s where long-term goals come in. They provide the context and framework in which to find the meaning and value of your long-term efforts, which helps cultivate drive, sustainability, passion, courage, stamina…GRIT.


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