Calling in childrearing: Promoting meaningful, purposeful living in family life
Meaning in life is a powerful predictor of both motivation and wellbeing. Perhaps no other motivating force is greater than to possess a calling and believe that one is destined to fulfil a specific life role, regardless of sacrifice, with an attitude that in doing so, his or her effort will make a meaningful contribution to the greater good. This chapter describes a series of studies investigating calling in childrearing, a previously unexplored domain of calling. In a series of four studies utilising qualitative and quantitative methods, the applicability and the function of calling will be described. Over 800 participants contributed data that led to the development of a three-factor, 11-item scale that measured calling in childrearing. This chapter will describe the associations that exist between a parent's perceived calling in childrearing and a range of important wellbeing and parenting variables, including authoritative parenting style, importance of parenting, pleasure of parenting, parenting satisfaction, presence of meaning in life, satisfaction with life, savouring, and positive affect. This chapter will also briefly explore research that considered how parental sense of calling is related to wellbeing in early adolescence. Calling appears to be a salient and useful construct in childrearing, demonstrates consistency in function across domains, and is related to optimal parent and child wellbeing.