What is your purpose in life? No, I’m not asking some philosophical or theological question about the significance of life in general. I’m asking whether you have discovered the purpose of YOUR life, what YOU want to accomplish, what effect YOU want to have on the world. Because we all know that individuals who have clarified their purposes in life live more intentionally, move in a more focused direction, and tend to sail more calmly through rough waters. They know what is important to them, and they’ve discovered and defined their deepest values and beliefs.
I’m not telling you anything that you don’t know, but here’s the crazy part. I asked all of my students (9th and 12th graders) three questions today:
1. Has anyone ever asked you what you want to be when you grow up? (All raised their hands.)
2. Has anyone ever asked you what college you plan to attend? (All raised their hands.)
3. Has anyone asked you what is your purpose in life? (Roughly five out of fifty answered yes).
I asked those five students who posed that question to them. The answers were camp counselor, parent, minister, and themselves. No one said teacher. Not one single student said he was asked that question directly in school.
That was mind-blowing to me. I’m hitting the re-set button. I’m asking that question directly. I’m making it part of my mission. Why haven’t I asked that question directly before? Have you?