- Over the next year
- Over the next 5 years
- Over the next 10 years
I took a hands-off approach to this activity, offering no ideas or suggestions. The results were surprising! A few examples:
Over the next year:
- Apply for a job
- Earn driver’s license
- Keep my workout on track
- Find mission work with the church
Over the next 5 years:
- Graduate high school
- Try to get a mission trip to another continent
- Start dating
- Get a bank account
Over the next 10 years:
- Search for a college
- Visit DeRossett, TN (Yes—it exists!)
- Find a wife
- Make my wife love Cowboy (his dog)
- Go to veterinarian college
Why is it important to teach your child to begin thinking about their short-term and long-term goals?
It teaches planning skills: From the smallest of details, such as saving money to go to the movies (to see The Hobbit? Or is that just me?), a goal is set and when the money is saved the plan is fulfilled and the reward is found. What if the goal is not met? It is time to re-evaluate the plan for next time.
It creates motivation: In a society that is breeding children who are feeling more and more self-entitled due to parents who do not say no or give the child what they want with no expectations in return we’re creating a huge problem! When soliciting advice from other parents on how the Christmas lists were turning out the results blew my mind. $300 headphones, $400 phones, $150 shoes, etc., etc., etc. What if for once we said no? No to expensive electronics, phones, latest fads, and huge gift cards? The reward would most likely be met with children who work to buy these things for themselves or decide they don’t want them as much as they thought in the first place. If they work to buy these things for themselves we’ve instilled the need to save money in order to meet their initial goal! This, my friends, is a life lesson. I highly recommend teaching this to your children while they’re young.
It enables a parent to better guide their children: For example, my son mentioned above how he would like to go on a church mission within our country and also on another continent over the next 5 years. What role do I, as a parent, have in helping my child to succeed? A few things like: take my child to church, instill Christian values within our church, help him become involved with the groups that go on missions. This one can potentially be pretty easy. Making his wife love his dog, Cowboy? I am staying OUT of that one.
We are starting a new year this month and in the season of “resolutions” we have the great opportunity to teach our children how to set goals and seek the sense of accomplishment that follows when one is fulfilled. We have the chance to create opportunities and instill excellent life lessons. I challenge you to make this one of your “resolutions” for 2013.