Dr. Rich Patterson

Part three. Parenting on Purpose: Motive

Recently when working with a personal coach, I told her about something that I wanted to focus on next.  She said to me, “What is your motive?”  I thought for a moment, and realized that my motive was not a good reason to even do what I thought I wanted to do.  It really threw me for a loop and since then I have often asked myself if my motive is in alignment with my goals, personal standards and character.  When I discover that I don’t have a good motive, it cause me to reframe my thinking.  That in fact, what I am thinking about or wanting to do, is not at all what I want for myself.

Kids often say I want to do this, or I want to buy that, or I wish I were good at . . . ..  We can help them to check their intentions by asking them what their motive is?  Motive is the reason, the cause or purpose.  I like to think of it in terms of intention.  What is your intention?  If we can teach our kids to stop themselves from the willy-nilly thoughts that lack a focus, and help them to really evaluate what their intention is, after a time, they will not even speak the things that they are thinking.

By challenging ourselves to consider what our motive’s are, we learn to focus our thinking toward productive thoughts, ensuring that what we say or think we want, will produce something positive for our selves.  By teaching kids to ask this simple question we help them to understand that life is not about the whimsical, willy-nilly do or say what you want moments.  No, instead it is about ensuring that our behavior and desires are in alignment with our goals and character.  Have some fun with your kids the next time they tell you they want something or want to do something, simply say, “What’s your motive?”  It may get them to thinking.

Next week I will have part four and five in this series on Parenting on Purpose.