Often, career advice, love advice, and advice on how to be your happiest self is rooted in the idea of finding your “purpose.” Authors, counselors, and religious leaders express to us that we are here to do something, and staying focused on our “why” for being on this planet will result in us living our best lives.
But more often than not, I encounter people who have no clue what their “purpose” is supposed to be. They spend so much time trying to figure out how to discover their purpose that they are missing out on living the life they are in, and so concerned that they can’t be happy without a purpose that they don’t enjoy the happiness in front of them.
If you’re trying to figure out what your purpose is, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to keep looking for it—it’s possible that in living your life, your purpose is going to find you.
For most of my life, I did not know that I was supposed to become a children’s author. I always enjoyed books and reading, and dabbled in writing short stories for adults, but I was focused on living the life I had in front of me. I was a single father living out the purpose life handed to me when it brought me my son.
In living my purpose of being a father, I would read my son bedtime stories, and eventually we started making up our own stories about a red crocodile named Crosley. Slowly, and over the course of many years, it dawned on me that Crosley could become more than a bedtime story kept as a secret between me and my son. When my son was grown, my new purpose had spent time building itself up inside me—I was supposed to write the Night Buddies books.
I’m not saying that it will be easy, or that you should put no thought into what you are supposed to do with your life. But if you do these three things, your purpose might just find you:
1. Follow your curiosity.
2. Make connections between your responsibilities and your passions/hobbies.
3. Be open to allowing your “purpose” to change over time.
Do you think having purpose is important to your life? Let me know in the comments!
Regular readers of this blog might be aware that I raised my son John as a single father. I’ve written about the challenges of single parenthood, about asking for help as a single parent, and about the importance of being an active father in your child’s life. But when I came across this article, everything I believed about being an active father in my son’s life felt validated.
Titled, “Embrace Fatherhood and Your Child Will Reap the Rewards,” author Wanda Wyont explores the changing role of fathers in the home, and uses scientific research and facts to back up the idea I’ve always known to be true—children benefit from a father’s involvement in their lives. Weaving statistics together with her own relationship with her father, and exploring the changes that relationship went through during her childhood and adult life, Wyont really captures the what it means for a child to have an active, involved father, rather than just the traditional breadwinner.
If you’re a father, in a single parent family or otherwise, or a mother who wants to better understand how she can work together with her partner to keep him as involved in your home life as possible, this article is a good place to turn to. She even includes quotes from children about their fathers! It is an encouraging, heartwarming read that gives me hope.
Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!
The 4th of July is almost here! And you know what that means…BBQs, relaxation, fireworks, and a whole lot of red, white, and blue. Last year I wrote a post with my top 4th of July-themed children’s book recommendations (which you can find here), and this year I want to add to the list!
So without further ado, here are my top 2017 recommendations to prepare your kids for the 4th!
Red, White, and BOOM!, by Lee Wardlaw.
This picture book takes readers through the many ways different cultures across America celebrate this classic American holiday. Filled with fireworks and poetic writing, this is a must-read!
Happy Birthday America, by Mary Pope Osborne.
This tale weaves the story of one family’s 4th of July celebration with the history behind the holiday. It will get your kids excited for a fun day of activities, while also teaching them something new!
Fourth of July Mice!, by Bethany Roberts.
This is a delightful book in Roberts’ Mice series. It follows the Holiday Mice as they celebrate the 4th of July in the most traditional of ways—a baseball game, a parade, a picnic, and best of all, fireworks! It’s delightful and sweet, a book you won’t want to miss.
Apple Pie 4th of July, by Janet S. Wong.
Sometimes we forget that what it means to be American looks different for so many of us…that’s where this book comes in. Wong shows the very different cultural experiences of Americans, and shows readers exactly why that in itself is the American way. A great and eye-opening read for all!
Does your family have a 4th of July tradition? Let me know what it is in the comments!
There’s nothing better than the feeling you get as a parent when you walk into your child’s bedroom and see their nose buried in a book, completely lost in a world between pages. Today most children spend more time on their iPads or watching television than they do reading books, but I know that just one great book can turn a child into a lifetime reader. Here are some of our suggestions to help you make that happen before back-to-school!
1.) Pick out a book for them that is tailored to their interests. If you know your child loves horses, pick out a book that revolves around horses. If they like television programs about witches and wizards, pick out a book that is about witches and wizards. Make sure you pick a book at their reading level so that they don’t get frustrated reading it (once they start reading more, you can steadily find books that will be more difficult for them to read). In the beginning, it is just important to find a book your child will enjoy, so that they begin to associate reading with fun.
2.) Set aside a specific time, preferably right before bedtime, for them to read. This makes reading turn into a habit, and makes it more likely for them to choose to read at that time on their own later on. Plus, studies have shown that watching television before bed might interfere with sleep quality, so reading is a good, calming alternative!
3.) Don’t take away their other forms of entertainment. This will make reading feel more like a punishment than a reward, and you only want them to have positive associations with reading if you want them to fall in love with it. If your child is used to and enjoys watching a certain amount of television or playing video games for a certain amount of time in the day, allow them to continue. The goal is to incorporate reading into their routine, not to completely change their routine.
4.) Take them to your local library and let them explore. Libraries can be an exciting place for kids, especially during the summers when most libraries offer reading contests and rewards. Plus, allowing your child to pick out his or her own books gives them a level of independence, and it lets them try new things and develop their own reading tastes. Taking them to your local library once every couple of weeks can be an exciting excursion for you two to share!
5.) Read with them. Some of my favorite memories associated with reading are the times when my mom and I would trade off reading chapters of my favorite books as a little kid. Not only does your child get to learn a better vocabulary as you help them through the difficult sections, they get to bond with you at the same time as they are falling in love with books. When you read with your child, it’s always a win-win situation!
It’s mid-June, and that summer feeling is already upon us. Whether your kids are out of school or just days away from vacation time, chances are you’re looking for books to keep them busy during these long summer months! These are my top recommendations for a fun, easy, and memorable summer read.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation, by Mark Teague.
I love a book about a kid with a wild imagination, and this book more than fits the bill. The story is about a schoolboy who tells his classmates all about his summer vacation—including the time he joined a group of cowboys and stopped a cattle stampede. No boring summer at grandma’s house for him! It’s a cute book with great illustrations, and will get your kids excited for a summer of adventures.
Swimming Lessons, by Betsy Jay.
This story follows a girl named Jane who is afraid to learn how to swim. Her mother tries to get her in the pool any way she can…but Jane doesn’t budge until she hears a taunt from a classmate. A cute story about a girl finding her bravery and facing her fears make this a summer must-read!
A Pocketful of Cricket, by Rebecca Caudill.
As summer comes to a close, a six-year-old boy finds a cricket, sticks him in his pocket, and becomes his friend. On the first day of school, he won’t set the cricket free—but is it really the summer he’s holding on to? This children’s book is beautifully written, and sure to become a classic in your family.
Heat Wave, by Eileen Spinelli.
This books throws it back to the days before air conditioning, making it a fun, reminiscent read for those of us from an older generation! It follows a cast of quirky characters trying to find solace in a heat wave, until everybody comes together by the river and dreams of cooler times. Charming and delightful, this is a perfect comfort to turn to when the temperatures go up!
What are you looking forward to this summer? Let me know in the comments below!