I’ve always been someone who’s searching, looking for deeper meaning, trying to make sense out of things. Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what gives a life purpose. I think one of the reasons I became a teacher and enjoy working with young people because they are so interested in that question. It seems to me that schools should be places to examine purpose, to spend time learning what skills, interests, values and vision a student has and then trying out different ways to put them into action. This work happens sometimes in the classroom, and sometimes through activities outside the classroom, but it is most often hit or miss, a happy accident. I would love to see schools become places where purpose is intentionally explored and practiced.
To this end, I am involved in a number of projects. I co-facilitated a summer course for educators last year to examine their own sense of purpose so they can help students do the same. Following up on the success of that course, my colleague Ross Wehner of World Leadership School and I have continued to mine this rich and essential topic. We have embarked on a three-pronged journey this year to continue the work. Our first collaboration is a book for school leaders and parents on why purpose is so important and how it can be fostered in school communities and at home. The second is a purpose curriculum guide for K-12 teachers who seek practical tools to use in the classroom. The third is a K-12 Purpose Summit in Boulder, Colorado October 4-7 where educators will use a variety of methods to explore their own sense of purpose, practice some of the exercises found in the curriculum guide, and work together to create projects that will enrich student experience. We are excited to host participants from independent, charter, parochial and public schools working together on this crucial topic. I hope you will join us!
Why talk about purpose? Because it’s what gives life meaning. When you know why you are here, what you have to contribute, how you want to make a difference, and then discover the way to do it, that leads to a fulfilling life with no regrets.