DePaul University Purpose and Success in Youth Today
Page 2 In today’s society, especially in western countries, young adults are described as “empty,” not adequate for the job world, dependent on their parents, and lacking a true purpose in life (Damon 16.) When a simple Google search is conducted asking “what causes a lack of success or purpose in young adults today?” numerous parenting articles appear, claiming that certain methods give children success later in life. While researching and reading Amy Chua’s books, I began comparing her parenting methods to those of my parents, then I compared myself to her children. I believe that I have a purpose in life and am successful, therefore I decided to explore the topic to get to the core of the problem. I found that my initial question of what parenting style had better success rates in children, strict or lenient, were not relevant anymore. The real question is why and how do children grow up to be successful? There is no straightforward answer but most of the problem lies on parenting styles. Everyone has a common understanding about what success and purpose mean. From my research I have concluded that leading a successful life includes setting and accomplishing goals, having self-discipline, being independent, bringing forth new ideas, setting new standards, and being motivated. The official definition of purpose in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is the “aim or goal of a person: what a person is trying to do become.” William Damon, author of Path to Purpose and psychologist who has spent over twenty five years researching youth’s personal development, defines purpose as “a deeper reason for the immediate goals and motives that drive daily behavior (Damon 22).” Today, youth go for short term goals, which are usually money- oriented such as saving up for a pair of shoes, instead of long term goals that usually carry more meaning. Long term goals usually go beyond oneself, such as bringing world peace, while short term goals make one feel “empty” because they are most likely self-centered (Damon 22.)
Page 3 Damon states that from his research “only about one in five young people in the 12-22- year age range express a clear vision of where they want to go, what they want to accomplish in life, and why (Damon 8).” Many of the youth today do not have a clear path and believe that nothing they do will matter in the long run because their short term goals are centered on themselves (Damon 32). Positive psychology has concluded that a sense of purpose can lead to happiness (Damon 28). Another sign of having no clear sense of purpose was brought to the attention of Ellen Galinsky. Galinsky is President of Families and Work Institute and is featured on the website, Council for Contemporary Families, which is a non-profit organization that exhibits research and articles about American families. The staff includes many credible psychologists, scientists, and therapists. Ellen conducted studies in America’s workforce and
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 11 pages?
- Winter '08
- Amy Chua