Thursday, January 1, 2009

Kids and Goals

I haven't been a New Year's goal person for very long. In the past I always figured that I shouldn't set a goal just because it is New Year's, that when I saw a need for change I should set the goal then. But a couple years ago I caught a bigger vision of the New Year's opportunity.

I was helping one of the kids prepare their Family Home Evening lesson the first Monday in January. We were looking for a good story about goals from the Friend magazine and happened upon this great goals chart. We printed one out for each member of the family, and that night everyone set goals for the year! The simplicity was fantastic to help the kids get the idea of goals. The topics helped us to think outside the box (although they are in boxes?) and set a good variety.

I remember one of Melanie's goals the best. She was 5 at the time and set the goal to be able to jump rope 10 jumps in a row. She had been practicing and could get a few in a row, and I knew if she could get to 10 she would quickly surpass that. The day after setting the goal, she practiced and practiced, DESPERATELY wanting to reach that goal. Within just a few days she had it, then went far beyond her goal, soon reaching 20, then 50, then 100! Later that month her kindergarten teacher told us she had never seen a kindergartener so good at jump roping. A simple goal, but a real lesson that if she could set a goal and work hard, she could achieve it. Definitely something good to learn at an early age!

I've given up on plenty of goals because of lack of planning, so likewise, if you want to help your children reach their goals, help them make a plan. Help them think about and define all the who, what, when, where, why, and how's. Help them get of vision of what they need to do to accomplish it so they will know what will be required of them. I'm grateful for my Wood Badge training and the goal setting experiences I've had through that so I can be a better mentor for my kids in this.

Since as homeschoolers we work on school goals a lot more hands-on than most, we got each of the kids a simple planner so we can keep track of monthly and weekly goals and keep a better record of all the great things we're learning. It's one of my New Year's goals to teach the kids to use those.

Last year I set a goal to make 2008 the year of decluttering. I got rid of a wonderful amount of unnecessary stuff and have been very pleased with my progress, but with so much more to do I plan on continuing that goal this year (Karen, still willing to check up on me?). My attitude change about 'stuff' has been the greatest result of all.

BTW, here's a list of questions to help think of New Year's goals.

P.S. While writing a portion of this we were watching a fun family movie called Hawmps! It's a kick and a half. "Don't mess 'em up so bad they won't hang good!" Reminiscent of some of the great old Disney comedies like The Apple Dumpling Gang and Hot Lead and Cold Feet. Watch it if you get the chance!

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