One day, toward the beginning of my career as a mother and full-time home maker, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t just raising my own children, but I was also raising someone else’s future spouse (and someone else’s future parent) and that I had the responsibility to pass on the best “product” possible. This awareness put an entirely new perspective on what I chose to teach my children and why. It became a more refined (and critical) objective around which I organized my efforts to teach and train my sons and daughter on a daily basis.
For example, when I looked at a twelve year-old son, I imagined him grown and having to take care of a sick spouse and children. What would he need to know to handle that type of situation? What character traits and skills would he require? If I could teach him in the present what he would need to know in the future, then his future (and his wife’s and children’s future) would have less stress and more joy. This is true because we handle difficult situations better when we can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that we already know what to do.
Such imagined scenarios helped me sort through all the possible choices I had in a busy day to focus on the actions I considered more important. We all know that it can at times be extremely not fun to train children in essential life skills (i.e. daily chores and schoolwork) and many adults give up on the task, but I was willing to put forth the extra effort (and experience greater stress) in my then present in pursuit of benefits for yet unmet loved ones in the future.
Can you imagine how it feels now to have a much loved daughter-in-law thank you for how well you raised her spouse? To have her appreciate that, because of your stubbornly consistent, daily efforts in the past, her husband not only knows how to swiftly clean a kitchen, straighten a cluttered room or manage piles of laundry, but that he is willing to wade in and lend a hand? That because of these small things her life is so much nicer? Well, I can tell you there isn’t a “high-five” high enough to express the victory (and vindication) I felt in the moment that experience happened to me.
Just as asking the purpose of a room gives you an objective around which to organize the space, so does asking your purpose give you an objective around which to organize your daily efforts. Visualize in your mind’s eye how you want your future to look and then do the actions today that will help make that future become a reality. Be stubbornly consistent. You will love how you feel.