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Pathmaps: Meaning & Purpose
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Meaning and Purpose

The search for meaning and purpose in life lies at the spiritual heart of all religious traditions. It is, moreover, the very essence of the process of education. Engaging students in this search pushes them to reflect on the balance between beliefs and attention—on the links between the personal and the divine.

Classroom Activities

A Life of No Regrets
Suitable for Middle and Upper School students, this Pathmaps Activity is designed to identify personal goals, dreams and desires, while addressing the spiritual point of Meaning and Purpose in life. Link to activity

Meaning and Purpose
This activity asks upper school students to discuss several questions about meaning, the universe, goals, human purpose, and more. Students are then asked to reflect on how their ideas may or may not have changed post discussion. Link to activity

What Makes you Happy?
This exercise aims to help participants understand the differences between different kinds of happiness. For lower, middle, and upper school students. Link to activity

See all Pathmaps Activities for Meaning & Purpose by clicking on the "More in this Section" link above [Please note that some of these activities are for CSEE Members Only]

Questions for Students

What is the reason for your life? Should you use your life to accomplish a particular goal?

Do love and/ or friendships give meaning to life?

What would you die for?

Is there something that we, as a species, should achieve before extinction?

Does life naturally have meaning or do we/I give it meaning?

How does what I am learning in school relate to my "real life" or the life I dream of having?

Questions for Schools

Do we help students reflect on how their studies relate to bigger issues in life?

How does our school define success?

Do we create space/time for students to reflect on, develop, and share what they are facing or struggling to understand?

Does the school have a purpose/meaning set forth in its mission statement with which students, faculty and staff are familiar?

How do we support departments in developing and realizing their own mission statements?

Values & Beliefs
Intentional Action
Awe & Mystery
Self-Knowledge / Self-Worth
Transformative Experiences


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