Parents! A Helpful Magic Lamp For Nearly Every Child

by Donovan Grant on May 16, 2011

Parents! A Helpful Magic Lamp For Nearly Every Child

 By Donovan Grant

 "Real education consists of drawing the best out of you” ~ Mahatma Ghandi

As a father of two daughters and a son, one of my goals is to find ways to help them reach their full potential (without nagging, of course). Like so many teens, my children have great hopes and dreams but aren't always sure how to make sense of them. This is normal for all young people and Jen and I do our best to support them in any way we can.

Our kids have gone to state schools and have faced all the ups and downs that come with attending inner city London schools. There’s a diverse population of students. The students have varying goals and learning abilities. The overstretched teachers who are generally hard pressed to get the best they can out of a class of 30 students! If we were to be ultra critical, the honest view is that it’s not the best recipe to give them every chance of success in life goals. But it is a good start.

A lot of students are being short-changed! Where do kids get their much needed life and social skills training? From parents? From teachers? From their peer groups?

The truth is that many of our young people struggle to understand themselves and find focus their daily lives. This is not because they lack the academics; part of the reason is because they lack some life skills like goal setting, communication, making decisions and self-confidence, just to name a few. In fact it is quite normal for students to graduate from college or university and still be short of a few valuable life skills.

What happens when we leave it to the schools to set goals for our children?

Many parents have the belief that by sending their boys & girls to school, that they will learn all they need to know. Sadly, this is not true. Reading, writing, arithmetic is a big ‘yes.’ However as far as I know, learning about goal setting, dealing with failure  and successful thinking has not quite made it to the mainstream curriculum. This is where we as parents have to step up to the plate.

Before we jump in with goals and dreams, remember this- Not every kid wants to be a lawyer. Not every one is born to be an accountant. And just because a student gets top exam grades and goes to the best university doesn’t mean that they are destined to be a CEO. Don’t get me wrong, it makes sense that every mum and dad wants to see their sons and daughters become independent, responsible and successful people. So it's up to us to make it happen. A great tool to help our kids is to teach them how to set goals and making their own choices.

“Setting goals for children, aren’t they too young for that?”

That’s a big ‘No’. Goal setting is something we all do naturally including our kids. Imagine sticking a target onto the wall opposite you and then throwing darts at the target. When we hit the bulls-eye we’re happy; when we miss it, we change our aim and then we try again until we hit it! Children do this naturally every day by default without knowing it. When they play soccer, baseball, video games and even in their school work they are aiming for something. Therefore, the concept of goals is not alien to them. The difference is that now they will be aiming to achieve something that they really want. They may need some assistance though their goals though!

So what's some good benefits goal setting?

  • It's fun! ~ Hey let’s face it, if it’s not fun they’re not interested
  • Achieving goals gives children more confidence ~ they will increase their belief that they can do ‘hard’ things
  • Set their own rules and standards ~ this will improve their ability to make decisions and taking responsibility
  • Working on their goals turns their dreams into reality ~ They will feel the joy of turning an idea a real result
  • Children will feel better prepared to cope with school, work, and other people.

When you start working with your child's goals, it pays to have the ‘sweetie shop’ mentality and ask them ‘what do you want?’ Then listen very keenly, write their answer down and then make a plan and start moving towards it together.

I truly believe that if every parent and teacher utilised goals with their children we would have a future filled with successful, responsible young adults. If your son or daughter seems ‘lost’ or is not achieving on a level you might like them to try goal setting, it’s a great place to start. In fact it could be one of your most valuable yet inexpensive investments into their future!

Goal setting is more than just having a talk and writing a plan. What are you doing to improve your child’s success this year?

Let’s inspire lasting progress for your family together!

 

Ps. Got a comment about goal setting? Leave us a message below…

Father of three wonderful children, coach, mentor, copy-writer, speaker and IT Professional are just some of the roles that Donovan Grant enjoys everyday. He is a passionate and committed person who believes that we all have the ability to help to change someone else’s life. Donovan has been a catalyst for many to live a life of balance, integrity and fun whether at work or at play. www.donovangrant.com

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  • Michele M Tremblay

     Good article Donovan. Happy to see you focusing a bit on young people. It is so easy for them to feel lost and really takes very little effort on the part of us as parents to help and guide them.

  • Maria Hinds-Grant

    Hi Donavan, was very impressed with  your article on our children. So many parents i have met through my son have been of the attitude that their children learn everything in school and you as a parent can sit back! This is not true, my 11 year old son has come on in leaps and bounds due to the work especielly my husband does with him. Yes it is hard work sometime when you work fulltime or like myself fulltime carer to a 2 1/2 year old autistic son but the rewards and the realtionship you build with your child is so worth it.

  • Michele, thank you for the inspiration. Helping the kids with a little effort offers big rewards in the long run.

  • Hey Maria thanks for stooping by. Sadly it is true that many parents sit back and wonder why their child is not doing so well. If more of us could take your example and do the hard work that it sometimes takes as a parent, it could make a big difference. Thanks for sharing about your son who has autism, I’m sure that looking after him presents challenges on its own. You and your husband are wonderful and inspiring parents to your sons. Bless you.

  • Donavan, can’t leave it to the schools (teachers) to replace the parents role in helping educate their kids.  Never heard of goal setting used in our family or school, but live and learn; can pass on to grandkids now. Thanks for sharing great post.

  • Anonymous

    Donovan

    As a single mother of a 12 year old daughter, I am trying to help her develop her full potential. When she uses the excuse that something is too hard and she “doesn’t get it” I always reminder her that she is very smart and can do anything she puts her mind to. She is “lazy minded”, meaning she doesn’t like to think but rather ask for help. But when I force her to think about the problem she comes up with the answer quickly. I continue to force her to think and exercise her decision making capabilities. I know these qualities will help her as she becomes a successful young lady.

  • Great article Donovan! You are such  a great parent and coach! Thanks for sharing this important information, I love the benefits of goal setting…

  •  What a fabulous post, Donovan!  I hadn’t given much thought yet to goal-setting for my son, but you’ve definitely got me thinking.  Thanks!

  • Hey Carol, that my thoughts too, us parents got to step up to the plate. Your grankids will love you even more for sharing!

  • Jamie, you are an inspirational mum and I’m sure that all the lessons that you share with your daughter will pay dividends. She sounds like a really smart young lady!

  • Thanks Solvita, I love goals too – especially taking action!

  • Hey Victoria, thanks a lot for the comment. I’m glad to be a catalyst to get you thinking!

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