Do you find yourself lacking motivation? Motivation for change, for establishing new habits, for doing what we know we should be doing. I am reminded of a phrase that a friend said once, it has been at the background of our parenting – and yet, really, it is relevant to all spheres of life: If your why is broken, so is your how (Heather McEwan)
Do you know why you do things? Do you have a purpose? In that purpose you will find motivation.
I look back over the two times in recent years that I have succeeded in looking after my health:
- I had pain that limited my activities
- I was planning an overseas holiday
I had a purpose – my health was going to affect my plans, my dreams, my goals, my purpose. To say that I’m tired or that I don’t like my size – though that may be true, it doesn’t really touch my values, and it doesn’t motivate me to change. What is my purpose now? Having a vision for something but acknowledging my health is going to be a limitation will be far more motivating. I know that the times I increased learning, understanding and skills in my life have been the times where there was a reason, a purpose for doing so. The reason why women rush around with extra zing to tidy the house when visitors come is that visitors create a purpose – and I don’t mean just vain reasons of wanting to be seen as a good homemaker, but there may be a genuine desire to bless and be hospitable . The thing that challenges me is that this often means I’ve taken my eyes off the opportunity to be hospitable and a blessing to my family.
[Tweet “When we know ‘why’ we do things we find the motivation to carry through.”]
Peter and I often get away at this time of the year (we haven’t yet this year) to look at all sorts of areas in our family life:
- Our passions, the things we are involved in
- Our family, our kids, our traditions
- Our business, our income
- Our homeschooling
- Our home
After one such workshop together, a few years back, we had some ideas and goals that we’d talked about over and over, not only previous planning dates, but also throughout the year. But we weren’t making any progress – we kept having these same conversations. This time we realised why…. Our why was broken. We had no real motivation to change, to step out, to do something. Instead this idea hung over our heads as a “Should”: we should do this, we should do something about that. Because we lacked the why – we lacked the motivation to really do something about it.
I believe that as we start looking at the why’s behind the goals and dreams that we have, we will start to be more focused and more motivated to work on those steps that we’ve talked about.
This process made me think about the kids and their study, their character development and their skills – do they have a ’why’ for doing those things? Do they have a purpose? A vision? Or are they simply being propelled along by our motivation? Something to think about especially as the kids are growing older.
Sometimes our kids don’t understand or can’t see the purpose of the things we say they need to learn – in this situation our job is to help communicate the big picture, the purpose, the application, the reason for these studies. To be honest, if the only reason we can come up with is “everyone does it”, “it is the norm”, “it is expected” then we really have to rethink what we are asking of our kids.
I also think our kids will lack motivation if we are providing the purpose, reason, vision for all the learning they have in their lives. They need to own some of the growth in their life; they need to have purpose that comes from their heart. They need to have some goals. They need to see a connection with their goals and the tasks they are doing.
This doesn’t mean we just let them do what they feel like doing, or want to do. As the parents we are ‘older and wiser’ and because of that we have a bigger picture than our kids do. The Bible tells us that children do need to listen to the wisdom of their parents.
It becomes our job to help them see the big picture. We need to paint a purpose, a vision for them. We need to take the things that we can see in our child – the talent, the bent, the uniqueness – and help our kids see a purpose for those things, and therefore, a purpose in building muscle and strength in those things (which is their education.)
So if you are lacking motivation to do the things you ‘should’ do – maybe you don’t have a vision for those things, a purpose. I’m not saying not to do those things, but rather seek God to find out why these things are important. Are your children struggling with certain things in their life? Do you know why those things are important? Have you communicated those reasons to your kids? Are you painting a picture, bigger than just learning stuff because that is what kids do?
If your why is broken, so is your how.