The fourth need is to feel that the work we do and the life we lead has meaning and significance. We have called this a “sense of purpose.” It comes about when children see the relevance of what they are doing and when their efforts are directed to what is significant for them. It helps when they develop a vision of what they want to achieve or what kind of person they wish to become. It also involves developing a set of values or standards to live by.
Children need to develop the sense of intention or purpose, for this is what gives meaning to their efforts. As long as their efforts are directed toward pleasing or complying with the demands of adults, children will lack internal motivation. A primary objective is to help them develop the intrinsic joy of learning and achieving and of solving one’s own problems. This not only leads to responsible citizenship but also to feelings of self-esteem. Children who set realistic goals for themselves tend to have higher self-esteem than those who lack such goals. Children who lack a sense of purpose typically are unmotivated and generally have low self-esteem.
Children who have a sense of purpose typically display some of these characteristics:
- intellectual curiosity
- appreciation for beauty and nature
- inner satisfaction
- vision for their future
- clarity of purpose
- ethical behaviour
- passion for what they are doing
- ability to risk
- set short and long-term goals
If you want your child /student to display the above characteristics, you can choose from 30 Activity Worksheets for developing a sense of Purpose in the BASE tools.
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If you want to find out how well are you establishing a sense of Competence, get BASE and Test yourself.
You will find more suggestions, activities to consider and workshop materials in the Toolkit for Developing a sense of Purpose.