A New Year, A New Virtue: Purposefulness


by Tessa Lloyd, Junior School counsellor

When we utter the wish “Happy New Year!” are we imagining happiness occurs by luck or by design? One of the virtues always accessible to us is Purposefulness. It may not be a particularly flashy virtue, but it is a strong, durable building block of accomplishment and character.

Being purposeful means having a clear focus. It means to know what you want and to concentrate on your goals. Purposefulness helps us avoid “mindlessness” when we get lost in our thoughts. Some people just let things happen. When we are purposeful, we make things happen. When we have a plan, we know what we are doing and why. We have a vision. Our actions fit our intentions, and we are able to generate motivation and stay on task.

At our Junior School we discussed purposefulness as it relates to setting goals. And with resolutions front of mind for many of us, it was a perfect time to do so. One way can we help our children develop purposefulness is to model it ourselves, and make our goal setting and actions explicit. We can provide the structure and routine that assist children in staying focused, and provide feedback so that children make the connection between their actions and the outcomes. Of course, practices of mindfulness set the stage for better awareness and the possibility of greater attunement.

Reflections from Ms. Duffus’ Grade 2 class and Ms. Sandquist’s Grade 4 class

“I plan to be more purposeful by taking more care of my fish.”

“Purposefulness to me is making a promise to do something and committing to it.”

“The way I will show purposefulness is by showing up to every hockey practice to improve my skills and the team development for this season.”

“Purposefulness to me is starting a research project to keep me occupied and to have more knowledge about things.”

“An example of purposefulness is being kind and gentle. I plan to be more purposeful by making more eye contact with the teacher. Purposefulness is like silently watching the teacher and making eye contact and listening very carefully to the instructions.”

“Purposefulness to me is playing the piano after school when I get home.”

“Purposefulness is when you say it, you do it, you finish it.”

“Purposefulness to me is eating more greens so I do not feel bad all day.”

“I plan to be more purposeful by taking the compost out.”

“Purposefulness to me means to make my bed every day.”

“The virtue of purposefulness means doing something for a reason like trying so I can get better.”

“Purposefulness to me is looking out for others and my surroundings.”

(photo by Gordon Chan)


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