On New Year’s Eve, our family spent some time over dinner brainstorming a list of goals. We each listed 2-4 goals that we wanted to see achieved this coming year. After that, we spent some time each blessing each other. The great thing about our children (Princess 14, Matey 12) setting goals at this age is that it helps them with learning how to set goals, then how to start to work to see them achieved. Friends, this is something we need to teach our kids. Please don’t wait until they have left home and expect them to pick it up at some goal setting seminar they have to do at University or work. We need to be helping our children become all of whom they were created to be.
When we first started this, our children were 7 and 5. Some of the goals that year were to make new friends, to eat Chinese at least 3 times and to not be scared of 2 people who headed up a ministry we were spending a lot of time with. When those goals were stated, I must say it surprised me but the exciting thing was that that child could express these things without us judging them and we could also see a bit more what was happening on the inside of them to pray for them and help them in certain areas. By the end of that year, that child could certainly see an amazing difference and could see that all three goals had been met.
I start by sharing a goal or two that I have. We chat about how goals need to be achievable and measurable yet also stretch us. We encouraged Matey, who runs an organisation called ‘2 Pairs Each’ to set a goal for 2 Pairs Each. (see www.2pairseach.com.au) He stated that his goal for this year for 2 Pairs Each would be to get 50,000 pairs of socks for the homeless. We gently reminded him that he had collected 17,700 pairs of brand new socks in 2½ years and that to collect another 32,000 pairs in 12 months might not be achievable. He then quickly revised it to a total of 27,000 pairs of brand new socks which means an achievable, yet stretching amount of just under 10,000 pairs. He then started sharing how he wants to kayak down the Murray River and be sponsored by people to raise money for 2 Pairs Each. This led on to a time of looking at different aspects of that and breaking it down into smaller achievable chunks.
Several different acronyms for the criteria for the goals that we use are:
- AIMS (Achievable, Inspirational, Measurable & Specific/Stretching)
- CAT (Courageous, Achievable, Transformational)
Our role as parents in this process is to help the child set achievable, measurable, inspirational, specific and stretching goals but also to help them through the year by reminding them of their goals and how they are advancing towards them. We don’t get in and ‘make it happen’ for them. We instead pray for them and for opportunities for them to step forward in these areas. When they have decisions to make that will affect their goals, we gently remind them to review what their goals are. We also share with them on a regular basis how we are going with our goals and the achievement of them.
Friends, being able to set goals that are courageous, transformational, achievable, measurable, inspirational, specific and stretching is a life skill that we need to be teaching our children how to do. But it doesn’t end there. We also need to help them in the walking out of that, in the daily, weekly and monthly grind of how are we moving towards those goals in small steps. We don’t want to set them up for failure, so we help them keep the goals achievable, but we do want them to be stretched and transformed in the process. Thus the goals have to be big enough for them to be able to grow and be transformed in the process. A bonus is if they are stretched in having to be courageous to be able to achieve the goal.
Children have a predisposition to focus on themselves. As parents, we are wanting to develop children who look beyond themselves and influence others. Children who can be world changers.
How do you deal with goal setting with your children? I would love to hear your ideas so please feel free to comment below.