Weekly Slides

Week 28 - Purpose

By Jeff Bryan

I don’t want to be thought of as the “girl who was shot by the Taliban” but the “girl who fought for education.” This is the cause to which I want to devote my life.

-Malala Yousafzai

For an overview of each weekly slide presentation, please skip below to your specific grade level.
  • To see the 1-page Purpose Character Card and share it with your students’ families, click here.
  • For the P2 Reflection Journals, used by all elementary students at the end of the week, click here.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Nati Harnik

This strength means that you have beliefs about the meaning of life and your life’s purpose. You seek to be part of something greater than yourself. People who possess a sense of purpose believe that they are somehow connected with humanity or the universe — and that they were put on earth for a reason. That reason can have all kinds of variety. It could be to create a unique invention, to bring joy through art or music, or to raise their children to become good people. These people have a true calling.

One of the most insightful and impactful researchers of this strength was Viktor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl analyzed and wrote about his experiences in Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. Frankl’s experiences taught him that purpose provides strength and that “Those who have a ‘why’ to life, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”

This week’s example is Malala Yousafzai — the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. A native of Pakistan’s Swat Valley, she bravely stood up against the Taliban — and survived their vicious attack — for girls’ right to education. Her fight for children’s education worldwide exemplifies her sense of purpose. As she told the audience in her Nobel Lecture, “It is not time to tell the world leaders to realize how important education is – they already know it – their own children are in good schools. Now it is time to call them to take action for the rest of the world’s children.”

So, why does purpose matter?

Having a clear sense of purpose in life, and a belief that you’re connected to a larger meaning, gives individuals
strength. It allows them to persevere and find courage in trying circumstances, or lead with kindness and love even when it’s not reciprocated. Those with a sense of purpose have more meaning in their life – and are more fulfilled.

On a group level, purpose can be a powerful aligning element. It gives people a reason to continue on in hope and optimism, despite difficult circumstances. The sense of connection between people further strengthens their individual resolve and focus, which fortifies the group. When a group of individuals believe in something higher than themselves, their work can be exponentially greater.


And, as a reminder, you can find all of our weekly slide presentations on our website’s Resources page here. This page is the place that we recommend you go to access all of the resources — not via Google Drive folders.

To find your grade level’s presentation, you can simply type the word “purpose” into the Resource Title search bar or sort by Character Strength and select Purpose. Each of those options will provide you with 10 slide presentations and one 1-page character card. For a simple overview of the Resources page, with pictures and videos, click here.

Jeff Bryan
CEO and Co-Founder of The Positivity Project

Jeff Bryan is the CEO and Co-Founder of The Positivity Project. In this role, he leads the organization to support educators to empower their students to build positive relationships and become their best selves.