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Friday, October 19, 2007

Goal Setting for Kids

“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.” – James Allen
We have talked about goal setting in our own lives, and then how to marry those goals together inside a marriage; today we need to go over how to teach our children how to set goals and then achieve them. This process is vital to their success because as Peter Zarlenga points out, “To come to be you must have a vision of Being, a Dream, a Purpose, a Principle. You will become what your vision is.”
Goal setting for youth is much the same as goal setting for adults; the first step is to convince them to think big enough. Thinking big enough is on the one hand easier for children, but on the other even more critical. Easier, because kids have not been told by the world to compromise, that they can’t accomplish something, or to be reasonable in what they dream. More critical, because you first have to dream something before you can achieve it.
Before you are tempted as the parent to encourage your kids to “be reasonable” or to not attempt a lofty goal I encourage you to remember George Bernard Shaw, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends upon the unreasonable man." More on point is the great newspaper man, Edward R. Murrow, “Difficulty is the one excuse history never accepts.”
Once you have YOUR head in the correct frame of mind, then you are ready to coach your kids in dreaming big, and you should do so constantly. When the world tries to convince them they are not good enough, fast enough, smart enough or whatever; you should be their cheerleader, their advocate and when necessary their (figurative) kick in the pants.
The first step in all of these roles is to get your kids to write down their goals, in exactly the same fashion I asked all of you to a couple of months ago. If you haven’t done so, you could sit down as a family over a pizza or three and lay out your goals together. You providing a good, direct example will go a long way in this process. I have a goal setting worksheet I have developed that may prove invaluable in this process, and if you email me I will be happy to email it to you.
Goal setting is the first, and quite possibly the most important part of goal achieving, regardless of the endeavor, so please teach your kids how to do this vital exercise. If you will recall, I also admonished adults to publish their goals to the appropriate people in their lives. In this case I suggest you take the finished document to your children’s teachers, they can use it to help motivate your kids in the classroom.
I wish to leave you this week with the following thought, "Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning." -- Mahatma Gandhi

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