From our blogrolled “Parenting Beyond Belief” :
. . .“Meaning and purpose” is not an all-or-nothing commodity. It goes up, it falls down. It swings around wildly, trying to find its bearings. I don’t believe there is, or should be, one universal “meaning of life,” god-based or otherwise, no one thing that keeps all of our needles pinned. Neither do I believe we make our own meaning from pure random scratch. I think we discover what is fulfilling for us. We feel in the pits of our stomachs when we’re on a hollowing path, then register a shock of recognition when we veer onto another that fills us up.
When I was eighteen, I had no idea that family would end up being the most fulfilling element of meaning and purpose for me. I had to go hollow for a long time first. One of the most painful parts of parenting will surely be watching my kids go through trial and error in their own search for meaning — left foot in, left foot out, right elbow in, right elbow out. I may think I want them to be happy and fulfilled every minute of their lives, but no predigested meaning and purpose is going to feed them in the long run.