What Is Your Unique ‘Purpose?’
‘Karen and Jay discuss the importance and excitement of having purpose in your life.’
What’s your purpose? Your objective? What is it that makes you want to get up in the morning? That special thing that excites you? These questions are vitally important. And, the answers will define your life. In a sense, each one of us has our own individual search for meaning. And often the best way to help ourselves is by helping others.
From a young age, each of us have likely contemplated one question above all that has a tendency to come in many forms. When we’re younger it’s “what do you want to be when you grow up?” As we get older, it may be someone asking you what you do for work. In the times of the ancient Greeks, Aristotle contemplated the question as he developed his theory of Teleology. It’s a question that is as old as humanity itself, what is your purpose? But why is such a premium placed on finding purpose in life?
I want to share the story of a man named Shawn Taylor. Shawn grew up in a tough neighborhood and saw firsthand the challenges poverty presented to kids like himself to make it out. Shawn eventually graduated high school and went on to college where he decided that he wanted to help at-risk youths manage the challenge of their difficult environments. Yet after a few years, he felt like everything he did was a dead end, that his work served no purpose, and that he was no good at what he did. This in turn led him to feel that he himself had no purpose.
One day, Shawn decided to leave his job to travel for a bit as a way to reconnect with himself. Yet it wasn't through his travels that he would make that reconnection and find his purpose, instead it would be a phone call from one of his former pupils, a woman named Sunday. Sunday called Shawn to tell him that she graduated from college, had a job, and was getting married and asked him if he would walk her down the aisle at her wedding. Perplexed, Shawn asked why. It had been years since they’d seen each other. Sunday replied that through all the terrible things she’d been through as a young girl and teenager, it was Shawn who helped her realize she mattered, that she wasn’t in fact a broken person. It was at this moment that Shawn realized the impact of his work. “Something clicked and I knew this was my path. No specifics, but youth work was my purpose.”
It’s my belief that each day we wake up, we’re given a gift, the gift of a new day. With that gift, we are called on to grow. When we do not, we tend to see anxiety, fear, or pain creep into our lives. Our health may decline, or we may start coveting things that only provide temporary relief from the source of our pain, ultimately exacerbating it. Instead of looking inwards and looking for personal satisfaction, purpose comes generally from what you give, as we saw in Shawn’s case. Multiple studies have shown that having good physical and mental health are directly correlated to having a strong sense of purpose, which grows from our connection to others. Once we find our path, we almost certainly find others traveling along with us, hoping to reach the same destination, building a community. In the end what we’re looking for is fulfillment, which gives us the strength to get out of bed every day and seize the gift we’re given.
“If you really want to help yourself, help others.” This motto is one that travels with me every day. It reminds me that the key to my own purpose is through others. So, whether you’ve found your purpose, or you may still be searching for it, I’m here to tell you that it’s ok either way. Finding and enjoying purpose is a lifelong, evolutionary journey where we will assuredly encounter bumps along the way. In some cases, we may even discover that what we thought was our purpose all along was simply part of the journey to find our true calling.
Newport Heroine – A Woman with Purpose!
Sarah Josepha Hale – Born in Newport, New Hampshire, in 1788, Hale went on to become one of the most influential women in America of the 1800’s. . Remarkably, she is returning to Newport this weekend, and you can have the opportunity to meet her. For details, please see below.
As background, Sarah Josepha Hale is perhaps best-known today for being the author of the famous poem, ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb.’ Also, as the driving force behind our celebration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday, having written a letter to President Abraham Lincoln, persuading him to take the action.
However, during her time, she occupied a unique, high profile position in American society as literary figure and thought leader– especially as an advisor and advocate for women. As editor of Godey’s Ladies Book, she was universally known and respected. For half a century, women across America turned to “Mrs. Hale” for advice on what to read, what to cook, how to behave, and, most important – what to think. Twenty years before the declaration of women’s rights in Seneca Falls, NY, Hale used her powerful pen to promote women’s right to an education, to work, and to manage their own money. She pressed for women to be allowed to become teachers and doctors and created the term “domestic science” to enhance respect for women who worked in the home.
Thankfully, Melanie Kirkpatrick has just completed a marvelous biography of this incredible woman, ‘LADY EDITOR: Sarah Josepha Hale and the Making of the Modern American Woman.’ And, on Saturday, August 28th, Melanie, a former deputy editor of the editorial page at the Wall Street Journal, will be attending the Newport Apple Pie Fest on the Newport Town Common. You will have the opportunity to meet and talk with Melanie, get a signed copy of her wonderful new book and learn about the unique contributions of Sarah Josepha Hale. Melanie will also be offering a lecture later in the afternoon at Richards Free Library, as well as another lecture and appearance at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord on Tuesday, the 31st from 6.00-7.00 pm in the evening.
Coming back to my earlier comment above – an opportunity to meet Sarah Josepha Hale. If you make it to Newport on Saturday, you can have a real treat. Sharon Wood, a Hale re-enactor from Claremont, will be on hand to greet guests, share some of Hale’s favorite recipes and give you a real sense of Hale’s personality and charm. So, you won’t want to miss this really special opportunity. See you there!
Innovation in Education - Coming to New Hampshire
It’s great to see innovative, new approaches to education. One very exciting initiative is now developing right here in New Hampshire, in the Monadnock Region, set to launch in the Fall of ’22.
As Thomas Jefferson stated, “an educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” Yet, today, the traditional public education seems to be turned upside down, with many parents believing that our public schools are too often offering a ‘one size fits all approach.’ Also, promoting an ideological agenda, with an emphasis on teaching children ‘what to think,’ rather than ‘how to think.’
Enter the Barney Charter School Initiative or BCI. BCI is a program by Hillsdale College that focuses on teaching children how to be civic minded Americans with a focus on teaching kids about the founding values of American freedom and how those core freedoms have evolved since our nation’s inception. Children are taught that truth should strive to be objective, and students should pursue good. BCI does not dictate to teachers what to teach but lets them do their job while offering a core curriculum upon which to base their courses.
The best part about all of this is how friendly New Hampshire has become to educational flexibility over the last year. BCI may not be for every parent, but schools like BCI offer alternatives to parents who want to seek a different outcome for their child, and ultimately choice in education is a good thing. We achieve the best outcomes for our kids when parents are deeply involved in their children’s education. Offering choice, with lots of creative options is an exciting, dynamic vision for the future, and we’re proud to say that New Hampshire is leading the way!
Positive Profile of the Week: General Don Bolduc
This week, we are especially proud to highlight a true New Hampshire hero as our Profile of the Week – General Don Bolduc. The General served with great honor throughout a distinguished military career and continues to be a tireless advocate for veterans.
Born and raised in Laconia, New Hampshire, General Bolduc would later graduate from Salem State University and the U.S. Army War College. For 33 years, General Bolduc served our country in the United States Army. As Commander of Combined Joint Special Operations in Afghanistan he created the Village Stability Operations program that led to greater stability in rural areas and villages across the country. It aided in the stabilization of large areas of war-torn Afghanistan and defied Taliban control.
General Bolduc served a total of 10 tours in the region. His superior leadership and command in one of the most dangerous places in the world has been recognized and rightfully so. He has received 2 Defense Service Metals, 2 Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, and the Legion of Merit. Not ever backing down from a fight, Don Bolduc continues to stand up for veterans as a leader and advocate for veterans today.
After his notable career in military service, the retired General has made it his life’s work to ensure that veterans receive the care they need. He is a nationally known and recognized figure on the topic of veterans’ care and is not afraid to speak his mind when it comes to making sure our country gets it right - not only for the support of our troops but the actions we take both at home and abroad.
At this critical time in our nation, with events continuing to unfold in Afghanistan, it is especially fitting to honor the contributions and leadership of a true New Hampshire and American hero – who has been a vigilant leader in the ‘War on Terror’ and defender of our American freedom. Thank you, General Bolduc!
Quotes of the Week: Purpose
“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”
“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”
“Everyone has a purpose in life and a unique talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.”
Kallam Anji Reddy
“When you're surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.”
“Work gives you meaning, and purpose and life is empty without it.”