As people, one of our crucial longings is the desire to have meaning and purpose in our lives. Next to our longing for connection and relationship, this longing drives so much of what it means to be a human. We want to know that there is some greater purpose to the world, and importantly, our role in it. God wired us this way, setting eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV), so that we would be filled with a deep knowing that life is about more than temporary pleasures or even about more than we can see with our eyes. This longing drives us to make great sacrifices in order to impact others, to make a difference in the world, and to fulfill a greater purpose with our lives. 

While God wired us this way, that doesn’t mean that we all live out this ideal sense of destiny and purpose in our lives or carry the knowledge that we can make a difference. Sometimes difficult or even tragic life circumstances make us believe that we are insignificant, that our life doesn’t matter, that we have no voice, or even that our impact on the world is negative one. Perhaps many of us can relate to having a George Bailey period in our lives, where like the iconic character from It’s a Wonderful Life, we think that others would be better off if we’d never even been born. 

At Compass Rose Academy, one of the important capacities that we build in is Competence which we define as “The ability to be productive in the world and to contribute meaningfully to others in a significant way.” We believe that not only can this sense of meaning, purpose, and impact be cultivated and developed within a person, but we believe that it is a vital part of having the internal character, or set of capacities, necessary to manage the challenges of life effectively. Through our treatment program, including the focus of our Fall 2021 Parent Weekend, Make Life Good, we work to develop this capacity by helping individuals to own their voice and impact, step into an adult stance to relate to others on equal level, and see life as bigger than themselves. If you would like to explore what it means to develop this capacity, we invite you to reach out to us to learn more.


-By Mike Haarer, MA, LMHC, CRA Vice President & Executive Director