The Power of Purpose: Cultivating a Sense of Purpose in Teens

THRIVE GLOBAL Over twenty years ago, like many college students in the throes of existential questions, I had half-knowingly embarked on a quest for meaning. For much of the time, I felt like a castaway in uncertain seas with only gut instinct and grit as my guide. In retrospect, I can see that if I would have had better tools and guides, my disorientation, and the angst that followed in its wake, could have been dramatically reduced.

As a high school humanities teacher at San Domenico School, my classes are designed to make these disciplines relevant to students’ lives. My aim is to help students discover how the humanities can offer insight into the most meaningful facets of our lives – relationships, education, work, money, and belief itself. This is precisely what attracted me to an integrative educational model called Purpose Learning: the promise of helping students develop goals that are meaningful to the self and consequential to the world. 

The latest psychological research has revealed a crisis of meaning is growing in our younger generations. Dr. Bill Damon, Director of Stanford’s Center on Adolescence, has said that, “The biggest problem growing up today is not actually stress; it’s meaninglessness.” While high school students are the most stressed-out demographic in the U.S., it isn’t simply because they have too much to do but largely because they don’t know why they are doing it. Purpose Learning provides a necessary antidote to our system of education that champions carrots and sticks over meaning and purpose….  READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY ARAN LEVASSEUR ON THRIVE GLOBAL

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