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We have the purpose of our childhood and teenage years all wrong

Post · Sep 19, 2019 ·

So many adults (some young, some much older) hit a point in life where they step back and realise they’ve been investing time in something that doesn’t give them meaning. They ditch their study or their job and they set aside their hard-earned degrees and diplomas. They take pay-cuts and they walk away from work benefits and perks. They go back to basics, mentally and often financially, and re-focus their life on things that make them tick.

I hear of people doing this all the time.

Why? I think it’s because we spend our formative years being told what should be important to us. We’re asked to fall in line with a defined program, and then we’re in the system through graduation and on to retirement. Whether the study, or the degree, or the job, or even the promotions along the way are truly what we want.

It’s hard to break from the plan. Heck, even a gap year between high school and university is still considered a bit edgy.

But while we’re in it we can’t see the wood for the trees. We’re asked to cover many disparate subjects in many broken up blocks each day. We never get deep enough into any of them to really start to fly, and others – often things that may be closer to our hearts, especially if we’re creative or physical rather than academic – aren’t covered much at all.

So what if we built childhood on a foundation of choice and meaning instead?

A childhood with the time and space to follow our developing interests and passions down rabbit holes. A childhood where we have a say in the depth and breadth we explore them to, a say in when we do and don’t. A say in when we pivot those interests.

A childhood where we have input in how our days are structured. In what people we regularly interact with. In what people we don’t. In who we serve and why. In the overall direction our life is heading.

In our purpose.

How differently would we enter adulthood?

Throw out the standard topics, throw out the rote learning of facts, and throw out the testing of them. It’s the discovery of what really drives us that our childhood and teenage years should be all about.

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