It’s been several years since I started helping my children make goals each semester. Much of the time I’m simply walking them through the motions of goal setting, and then leaving them with the goals. I’m trying to encourage independence, not add another layer of micromanagement. But thus far, I’ve seen only glimmers of initiative in goal making. Am I wasting my time?
I’m also trying both academic and spiritual goals at the same time, partly because I’m also their teacher, and very much focused on helping them become independent academically as well as spiritually. My idea is that goalmaking is pretty much the same no matter what kind of goal I’m identifying, but perhaps that’s not a great idea. I try hard not to make spiritual disciplines an academic matter. Do I need to keep the academic and spiritual separate?
Here’s the first time I actually felt like I got them to identify actual goals. I had to give them ideas for goals, and then let them pick. They resisted, in part because they didn’t know any goals they could make. I felt good about making the goals with them, but since my goal was independence and initiative, it ended up feeling less than satisfying. I realized they lacked skills that they needed to meet their goals. When they looked at their goals a year later, they didn’t give me much reaction. Nevertheless, they did make progress in those things they identified, but it was more my work than theirs.
Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but I’m about ready to sit them down to talk about their summer goals, and their goals for our time in Hawaii.
I’m remembering the advice an older mother told me awhile back– that when you make beds with a toddler, you’re developing routine. The bed-making skill comes later. We get discouraged because we think that the skill is the goal, rather than the habit. If that’s the case, then what good is walking my children through the process of making goals? Brainstorm some ideas with me…
Walking through the process
- takes away the fear of the unknown.
- builds familiarity through repetition.
- gives me insight into what my children value, and who they are growing to be.
- gives them insight about themselves!
- gives them confidence when they realize that they have been growing as individuals.
- reminds me that making goals causes us to accomplish more than we would have without them. I can’t very well insist they go through the pain of making goals without making some for myself!
- reminds me that I cannot force results.
So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.