Do you have goals for your children? Goals for
- their relationship with God
- their relationship with you
- their relationship with their siblings
- their character maturity (which reflects on their behaviour)
- the development of their gifts and talents
- their life skills and academic progress
To have a goal means you have a purpose, an objective, an intention, and then you work towards that purpose. Since goals can be short term or long term we need to be clear about what we set in front of ourselves.
I am sure you are very familiar with the acronym SMART for defining different aspects of a good goal.
S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Based.
Specific means narrow in focus, clear in what you mean to achieve. Asking questions such as What, Why and How are a good start.
Measurable means defined in small increments, so you can see progress along the way. You need to know what will mean progress, what will mean success to you in this area.
Achievable means do-able. You need to take all aspects of your life into account and ensure that there is a time and place for you to work on your smart goal. It needs to be not too small, not too big but just right for you to achieve.
Relevant means it is connected to your purpose – you are not copying someone else. This plan will benefit your life in a way that is important to you. Relevant also means that it is appropriate for the now. We need to be honest with where we are at, or where our children are at before we set ourselves on a course of action.
Time-based means it has a beginning and an end.
But there’s a few more steps:
For goal setting to be truly successful we need to add two other aspects. Review and Action.
Review is when we regularly check our goals; when we look back at what we have achieved and assess what happened (or didn’t) and why. Review sets us up for the next stage, for tweaking our plans if necessary and for going forward from where we are at.
Action is simply getting in and doing it! Goals all look good on paper but unless we live them out our lives will remain the same.
When we have goals in our mind, even better when they are recorded, we are able to be proactive in the training of our children. The alternative is to just grasp at this misbehaviour and then this one and then this one, this makes us reactive parents. Another benefit is if we can clearly define what we want for our children, it is easier to pass this onto them; for us to be able to talk about it, and for them to begin to take hold of that ideal, and work on their own hearts, their own lives, ultimately taking responsibility for that goal in their own life.
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