Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Making (and Meeting) Goals for Your Kids

I am a goal setter.

Something about setting and meeting goals makes me happy. It only makes sense (I think) that I also have goals for my kids. These goals affect my day to day parenting.

My goals include my kids accumulating certain life skills and beliefs. Mr. Hippie and I make plans for our family's activities and schooling that are steps to accomplishing these goals. Meeting goals takes intention and grace and patience and hard work and discipline.

I want my kids to be generous givers. Thus, I give them an allowance and teach them how to allocate funds both to give to God and to others. We dialogue about giving and teach them to pray about where and how to give.

I want my kids to have a big world view. Thus, we travel to crazy places like Japan and Indonesia and Spain. We conscientiously provide opportunities for them to interact with people from other cultures and with missionaries. I love the USA, but it  presents a very limited picture of the whole world-both geographically and culturally. A big world view has to be cultivated. It costs in time and money. We are learning Spanish to also further this goal, and we are considering spending a year in Europe in 5-6 years.

I want my kids to have a voracious love of history and of reading. This is why both history and reading form the integral foundation of our home schooling. Our entire curriculum is based on historical periods. And we read and read for hours every day. Both Mr. Hippie and I read aloud to our kids on a daily basis, and they read to themselves.

I want my kids to be hard workers. Which is why I have them do jobs that they don't get paid for. I have them help clean the church or rake the lawn or stack firewood for a friend. It is hard work and it makes them sweat and it teaches them the value of service, hard work and sweat.

I want my kids to pray fervently, honestly, specifically, and often. I pray with them each morning before school. We pray the attributes of God and we thank God for tangible and intangible things. And we spend time in supplication for friends and family. We have a list and we pray for certain people every day.

I want my kids to love Jesus Christ with their whole hearts, minds, souls and strength. This is the most important of my goals and the one that is truly the hardest. It is hard because I have to be the model of Christ and His love and grace to my kids. And I am such a fallible human being. This is the one I need the most help with.

I want my kids to make wise decisions, and also to forgive themselves and move on in grace and humility when they have made a bad decision. Part of my parenting role is to give them room to make decisions and room to experience the consequences of their decisions-good or bad. And let me just tell you, this is not an easy thing.

Goals vary from family to family, because we all have different priorities, interests and gifts. Several of your goals for your kids probably look different from my goals. That is the beauty of individuality and autonomous family units.

Have you made goals for your kids? What are you doing to meet those goals?