Low motivation is a classic meme in adolescence. But it’s a stereotype we can shatter if we understand how to ignite kids’ passion. We can’t cajole or bribe them into passion, but we can help them discover it…
1. Finding their passion. Help your teenagers wrestle with questions that will open the door to passion. Choose from the questions below, or pick one and give them a journaling assignment…
- What makes you feel like your life is important?
- What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
- Imagine a person who wakes up every day excited for what they do. They work hard because they’re motivated internally, and are very successful. How did this person become that way?
- What are you right now doing to follow your passion in life?
- What is the most important thing in life to you?
- In what ways are you living for the important things in life?
- What would your friends and family say you’re most passionate about, and why?
- What holds you back from pursuing your passions?
- Some people have discovered their passion if life, and some haven’t—where does it come from?
- How do people find and keep their passion in life?
- Some people believe passion is just a feeling—do you agree or disagree, and why?
- What are the “downsides” of passion?
- What’s something you’d like to develop a passion for, and why?
Using one or more of these questions, challenge your teenagers to come up with their Passion Priority. It’s a sentence or two that describes what they are most passionate about, and why. You can coach them as they develop their Passion Priority, but it needs to be personal and in their own words.
2. Focusing on their passion. When I’m working with teenagers to help them lean into their passion, I encourage them to develop a weekly routine. At the beginning of each week, I have them write one reason why they want to develop their Passion Priority. It’s important to fuel this habit, even when the reasons they list seem… underwhelming. One senior higher I’m working with wrote: “Because I want to see that cute girl in math class today.” Obviously, not a lofty goal—but the practice of writing a goal every week has helped him stay focused and on track.
3. Fulfilling their passion. At the end of the week, I ask teenagers to tackle a couple evaluation questions…
- What’s one thing I did or didn’t do because of my Passion Priority?
- What can I focus on next week?