• Help Your Teenager Find Purpose and Joy—Mighty Parenting 214 with Bill Hendricks & Bev Hendricks Godby

  • find purpose

    Does your teen struggle with finding their purpose in life? It’s common to get caught in thought spirals of existentialism and lose motivation because we lose our direction. But purpose doesn’t have to be this enormous responsibility or the entire reason we think we exist. It’s unique to every person, yes—but this giftedness, this pattern of behavior, can be as simple as wanting to write a book or as complex as wanting to solve world hunger in their lifetime. Bill Hendricks and Bev Hendricks Godby join Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler in discussing how we can learn to consider “giftedness” as purpose, beyond the often incorrect cultural synonym “genius,” and how we can apply our understanding to our teens, help them find purpose, and raise happier, more self-confident and more emotionally stable young adults.

    Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Player FM | iheartradio | Castbox | Podchaser | Overcast

    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    Be present to the wonder.

    High Points From Our Conversation on Helping Your Teen Find Purpose:

    Quote on how teens find purpose

    Generally when we refer to people as gifted, we’re describing one particular area in which that person is exceptionally talented or excels—such as sports, music, or math. Bill and Bev have redefined the term: giftedness is what someone is born to do. 

    Everybody is born to do something that is unique to them, be that understanding people on a deep level or writing a book or building a house.

    We tend to think of giftedness in terms of the spectacular or unusual: the gifted musician, writer, or athlete. We often overlook the reality that every human being actually has a certain way of living life that works well for them, a certain behavioral pattern. That’s what Bill and Bev mean by giftedness—this unique pattern of behavior that a person basically starts using once they’re born and then continue in that pattern for the rest of their life.

    This pattern is stable and predictive; if you can figure out what it is, you can better understand and work with that person.

    This giftedness an energy that varies from person to person; in some it’s big and noticeable, in others it’s very subtle. We as parents need to be observant and pay attention to our kids. Giftedness tends to show up very early in life and shows itself in our kids’ actions and play and needs.

    Know this about yourself. Giftedness isn’t only found in how you find purpose, but also in how you find joy and a sense of satisfaction in everything you do.

    Find your pattern of motivation. What have you done that you’ve done well? Enjoyed? Been satisfied with?

    Transformation happens when teens discover their giftedness. They see others use theirs and it looks impressive; it’s hard for them to see their own until someone else shows them (i.e. holds up a mirror) and then celebrates that good truth about them.

    Oftentimes when people convey something negative about children and teens (the bad truths) they internalize it. Counteract that with good truths. Develop a positive language for whatever your child does, instead of conveying thoughts about positive qualities in a negative way.

    It’s easier to find purpose in life when you feel like you have good and helpful virtues, skills and abilities. Remind your teen of these when they’re frustrated with themselves.

    Middle- and high-schoolers are very sensitive to whatever is said about them; instead of pointing out what’s wrong, ask them, what’s right with you? and have them seriously think about their good qualities. 

    Create the core habit of paying attention to that giftedness as motivational energy:
    • What is your teen interested in?
    • What are they interested in that holds their attention, and is difficult to distract them from?
    • What happens that makes them come alive when bored?
    • Be curious and not critical, even if you don’t think the energy or activity or hobby is valuable

    You can’t always do what you want to do. Life happens. This applies to giftedness as well.

    There is an interplay between giftedness and addiction. What if the thing that has your child’s attention isn’t a good thing? Something that they’re doing to numb themselves? And how do you tell the difference between that and an activity that they’re doing because it brings them genuine joy? Pay attention. 

    Is your child getting lost with joy, or lost with numbing? Be careful and curious but not disparaging. Open a line of communication and be patient. Often seeking numbing activities means they’re running from something, not towards something. 

    Try to draw them back into life. Ask them about their activity. I’ve noticed you doing this a lot lately. What do you like about this? What does this do for you? When/how often do you do this? If those responses come back as joy or excitement, that’s good. Encourage that interest so long as it doesn’t take over their life. If the responses come back as apathetic or pained or lost, and if it feels beyond your capacity to safely handle, then contact a professional.

    Giftedness is opportunistic; it’s highly affected by the circumstances in which it finds itself. It will always drive towards expressing itself in whatever circumstances that present themselves. 

    For example, here’s a person who’s giftedness lends well to participating in teams, where they gain energy from being around others and doing well together. In a healthy situation they’ll do well with that energy on a sports team or a school club. In a less healthy situation where the only group present is a gang—guess where that energy is going to go? They aren’t participating to be deliberately destructive or a bad person, but because they really derive energy and find purpose from being part of a group effort and this was the only opportunity available.

    It’s never too late. Don’t think it’s ever too late, as a parent, even if your teen has shut you out.

    Giftedness is irrepressible. You may have not have seen the opportunity to connect with your child in a good place. But if you continue to open conversations, notice things, tell them these good things that you’re noticing about them… You will get a response from your teen because they’ll know that you’re showing up.

    Showing up, as a parent, is not being fabulous and thinking there’s a reward for doing this. It’s about showing up when it hurts; when it’s inconvenient; when you don’t know what you’re doing. 

    Be honest with your teen. I don’t really know what to say to help you right now, but I’m still here. No matter what they show you, knowing that they’ve been seen and heard by someone they care about and who cares about them really helps.

    Be patient. Use positive comments, but be honestly positive; don’t use platitudes to try and get your teen to open up to you. They have to feel authentic. Your teen has to feel like you really see them. And one more time: be patient. It might take days, or it might take months, or years. Are they worth that time to you?


    Parenting Teens So They Can Launch | Dennis Trittin | Episode 17

    Embracing Neurodiversity In A Differently Wired World | Debbie Reber | Episode 82

    Motivating Teenagers And Helping Them Reach Goals | Adam Norse | Episode 105

    Teaching Teenagers How To Bounce Back From Failure and Rejection | Stephen David Leonard | Episode 107

    Our Guests Bill Hendricks and Bev Hendricks Godby:

    Bill Hendricks and Bev Hendricks Godby discuss how teens find purpose

    BEV GODBY is a senior associate and change management coach at The Giftedness Center in Dallas, Texas. She focuses on graduating students and women who are navigating challenging life transitions. She feels called to the role of an educator, teaching others about giftedness to help them find fulfilling lives. She serves as a consultant to schools and nonprofit organizations, and speaks and writes often on these topics. Bev holds degrees from Wheaton College and The University of Texas at Dallas. She is married to Dr. Dale Godby, with whom she has three married daughters and six grandchildren.

    BILL HENDRICKS is Co-Founder and President of Global Centre for Giftedness, which seeks to mobilize a worldwide movement of Giftedness Guides — people who know how to help others discover their giftedness and then apply those insights to the major areas of their lives. This is an outgrowth of his longtime consulting practice, the Giftedness Center, which helps individuals think through strategic life and career decisions. In addition, Bill serves as the Executive Director for Christian Leadership at The Hendricks Center, a leadership development initiative of Dallas Theological Seminary. He holds degrees from Harvard University, Boston University, and Dallas Theological Seminary, and is currently a doctoral student at Bakke Graduate University. He is married to Lynn Turpin Hendricks and is the father of three accomplished daughters.

    To learn more or connect with our guests visit http://www.thegiftednesscenter.com/.

    From Sandy:

    It’s easier to listen and connect with your teenager when you are calm. Grab Sandy’s complimentary lesson on finding calm at https://sandyfowler.com