“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a deadline.” –Harvey Mackay
As adults, we understand the importance of a goal. We understand that we are in charge of our happiness. Oftentimes, it is more fulfilling to trudge through a difficult journey, than to reach the goal itself. Once the goal is reached, BULLSEYE. Celebrate for a moment, then on to the next goal.
Are we teaching our kids this? It is SO important for kids to witness adults setting goals, and reaching them. It teaches hard work, persistence, and the importance of having a positive mindset. So, once kids have a goal set, how are we helping them to reach their goals?
I have a lovely woman in my life, who is also a highly motivated entrepreneur. She always has the end goal in sight, but takes realistic steps in achieving those goals. One of the quotes that she has taught me to live by is, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” This is important, especially in teaching kids, because it teaches them to dream big, but succeed slowly. If your only goal in life is to be rich, you’ll never make it. You need a PLAN. Kids need a plan.
When a young child says they want to be a doctor, our response is always: “Well, get good grades and stay in school.” To a kid, they’re probably thinking that adults must have some kind of secret code that requires them to say that to all the kids that want to be doctors. This is our inherent response because we know that successful kids grow into successful adults. Kids have to be taught this behavior.
Here’s how to help kids reach their goals:
Set realistic goals.
Develop a step-by-step action plan.
Reflect on the journey with them. Allow them to see how far they’ve come.
This is the simplest way to help kids see and understand their goals. It doesn’t matter if it’s at home, in school, sports, or the gym. The results are the same. Make it fun. Construct a poster board with them. Create a celebratory ritual every time a step is accomplished. No matter how you help kids achieve their goals, don’t ever forget: THEY ARE STILL KIDS. It’s an amazing thing to raise a child that has an appreciation for goals, but you may have to check yourself on occasion. If so, hold yourself accountable, take a step back, and remind yourself and your kid to HAVE FUN. Life is short, goals are important, and love and nurturing should never be forgotten, no matter the lesson.
*Note: No elephants were harmed in the writing of this blog post.