Kids living in a post-COVID world need hope now more than ever. Here are 4 ways to talk to kids about purpose and their place in God’s great story.
In his investigation of the world’s “Blue Zones” – the happiest communities on earth – Dan Buettner found that happiness is directly tied with feelings of purpose. But just 20% of high school kids feel they are living purposeful lives, according to William Damon, author of The Path to Purpose.
Clearly, we’re not successfully instilling a sense of purpose in our kids. Maybe that’s because of how our society today largely thinks about purpose – as something external or achieved, instead of something we innately have. That’s why 80% of college graduates believe it’s very or extremely important to have a sense of purpose in their work. And according to Pew data, 57% of adults find their life’s meaning in their money or career, compared to just 20% who turn to spirituality and faith.
With the upheaval and uncertainty of the past year, many kids lost those external things they may have associated with their purpose, like success in sports, teacher validation, or popularity. Purpose should have never been found in these fleeting things, to begin with. Now is the perfect opportunity to talk to our kids about their purpose that comes from God.
Purpose 1: “You are made for a bigger story.”
Ephesians 2:10 tells us: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Every single one of us was handmade by God — a very special, one-of-a-kind piece of art. God’s story is bigger than anything we can comprehend, and each of us is made to be a part of that bigger story.
Sometimes, it takes a while to understand that bigger story. Paul, one of the earliest and most important Christian leaders, didn’t figure it out until his conversion in adulthood on the road to Damascus. Before that, he had persecuted many Christians. Read the story of Paul to your kids to help them understand that everything doesn’t always happen the way we expect it to. God hasn’t forgotten us when difficult things, like COVID-19, happen. Sometimes he’s just setting us up for our role in the bigger story.
Purpose 2: “You were made on purpose.”
God made every single one of us on purpose, for good. No one is an accident, an afterthought, or a mistake. That’s why Psalm 139:14 tells us we are “wonderfully made.” As we go throughout life, God may have different roles for us to play. Right now, your child may be a third grader, but one day they may play the role of a dad or an aunt or a teacher or a doctor. All of these roles are important. Tell your kids the story of the shepherd David, who no one really took seriously until he slew Goliath and grew up to be the king of God’s people.