Reaching your goals

Parents' Corner

January 16, 2000

Editor's note: Jerdine Nolen writes today about ways to encourage successful family conversations about goals. Her column appears biweekly.

As we embark upon the new territory of another year, many of us take time to think about some condition or achievement that we long for. We think about this a lot. Some of us set goals. We make wish lists. We make promises to ourselves and others.

In many American classrooms, children are asked to consider this, too. They are asked to write their New Year's resolution. A resolution is a determined or decided upon course of action.

January also gives us good opportunities to remember our dreams and hopes and wishes for the future as we celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. Consider it a good opportunity to generate conversations about goals, hopes, dreams and wishes for the future with your family members. Here are some suggestions.

Clarify with your children what a goal/hope/wish/dream is.

Ask them questions about what new thing they would like to learn.

Ask them what old thing they need to know better.

Model by telling them what your goals/hopes/wishes/dreams are for: yourself, your family, your community, the world.

Talk to your children about what really matters to you.

Take turns having each family member tell what really matters to each of you.

Ask them what their goals/hopes/wishes/dreams are for: themselves, their family, their community, their world.

Find a time when each of you can write down your goals/hopes/wishes/dreams for a coming period of time (a week, a month, by their next birthday, etc.).

Ask them what support they might need from you to meet their goal/hope/wish/dream.

Write down the kind of help they said they would need.

Refer to the list as needed during the period of time.

Find a prominent place to post these goals/hopes/wishes/dreams along with the support they need.

A resident of Ellicott City, Jerdine Nolen is the award-winning children's author of "Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm" and "Raising Dragons." She is a former teacher and administrator in elementary education, and has personally field-tested her suggestions on her son and daughter.

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