The greatest philosophical writings over the centuries have often examined the idea of the meaning of life. After the World War II, Viktor Frankl’s writing often explored the idea of the existential vacuum, which plagued those who entered the concentration camps giving them no reason to fight for life. What we realize now is that a sense of purpose and meaning plays a vital role as it offers protection from life’s undeniable hardships and discovering that purpose for oneself can be the meaningful journey in and of itself.
On this episode, our guest William Damon, Ph.D., a professor and psychologist at the Stanford School of Education, says that stress isn’t the biggest problem growing up today: It’s meaninglessness. Tune into Sucheta’s interview with Dr. Damon as they discuss how to help children build meaning beyond themselves.
About William Damon, Ph.D.
William Damon is Professor of Education at Stanford University, Director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence, and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is one of the world’s leading researchers on the development of purpose and author of The Path to Purpose. Damon’s other books include The Moral Child; Greater Expectations (winner of the Parent’s Choice Book Award); Some Do Care: Lives of Moral Commitment (with Anne Colby); Good Work (with Howard Gardner and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi); and The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice (also with Anne Colby). Damon’s present work includes a study that explores the development of purpose in the college years and a study of family purposes across generations. Damon has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Education and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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