Getting to Know My Son and Helping Him Know Himself

We were on our way to the church so David could sled down the big hills. From the back seat he said, “Mom, I’m not sure what my purpose in life is.” That’s a pretty heavy topic for an eight-year-old on a Tuesday afternoon, but it wasn’t surprising. He’s that type of kid. The INFJ type:

As an INFJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system.

INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.

INFJs are often mistaken for extroverts because they talk so much (seriously, so much!), but they process better alone. David is so sensitive he often says “Why did your face do that?” when my mood shifts, like when he tells me something I might not be happy about, like why he just can’t clean his room at that moment.

So what is the purpose of his life? My sensitive and creative kid. The one whose bedroom has been a  weapons lab, Viking ship, Hogwarts classroom, and forest in Narnia all in one day. The one who tells a joke and then asks, “How funny was that? On a scale from 1-10? What did you like about it?”

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So, we talked about it. I asked, “What’s the purpose of all things God created?” He answered, “For His glory.” “And what does that mean?” “We bring Him glory when we worship and obey Him.”

I explained that because God created him uniquely, he brings glory to God by using his gifts and talents. I asked him what his gifts and talents are.

“I’m creative. I’m a great Lego builder. I like to act things out from shows I watch and books we read. When I can’t act parts out, it’s like a pipe inside me is turned on and I can’t make it stop. I have to act it out before I bust open. I’m a good brother. I’m good at math … ”

We talked about ways God might want him to use all those talents to bring Himself glory and bring David joy. Then we talked about ways Lee and I can help him explore his gifts. Here’s our list:

  • Help him film and edit his own web show
  • Take theater classes and audition for a play this year
  • Read lots of fantasy books together (his favorite genre)
  • Buy more Lego sets*
  • Do more math worksheets*

*We’re still discussing these two. Maybe we should trade completed math worksheets for Lego sets?

It’s fun to think about how much eight-year-old David will be like twenty-eight-year-old David and forty-eight-year-old David. There are lots of twenty-eight-year-olds and forty-eight-year-olds still asking what their purpose in life could be. Isn’t it cool that I already get to have these conversations with David and help influence his answers?!

Have you talked with your kids about their purpose in life? What ideas do they have?

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

For more on knowing your child’s personality type, check out Nurture by Nature (affiliate link; our library had a copy).

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