Goals are good. They help us make progress. We’re much more likely to accomplish the things that are important when we set goals. Last January I published a post about helping children with long-term goals. You can read that post here.
At the beginning of this new year, let’s think about short-term goals — goals we can help our children set for just one day. These will be simplegoals that can help them learn to:
Recognize a need and take initiative to meet that need
Evaluate their own actions and attitudes
Be good stewards of their time
Do the important things first
Complete a job well
At the breakfast table, ask your children one of the following questions:
What is one sin God wants you to work with Him in conquering today? (Complaining, arguing, impatience, anger, etc.)
Who do you think God wants you to show more love to today? (A sibling, neighbor, grandparent, etc.)
What is one project you think would be good for you to tackle today? (Cleaning room, folding laundry, reorganizing drawers, mowing grass, etc. These might be jobs you would normally assign to them, but you are giving them the opportunity to initiate doing the job.)
What is one task that you think God wants you to do better today? (More careful work in math, making bed more neatly, sweeping the floor thoroughly, etc.)
Some children may have trouble with this at first. They may need some coaching. Give some examples or ask leading questions to help them. Write each child’s answer on a whiteboard or a sheet of paper. These will become their goals for the day.
Talk together about how they can accomplish those goals. Help them to think specifically. What will they do to show love? Will they need to prepare in any way? Will they need instructions? What might keep them from getting the lawn mowed, and how will they prevent that from happening? What materials might help them do their math more neatly? When will they complete a job they are planning on doing?
Resist the urge to remind them throughout the day of their commitment. A friendly question about how they’re doing might encourage them, and certainly praise when they have accomplished their goal will be appropriate. But if your son has committed to mowing the lawn, don’t keep asking when he’s going to get around to doing it.
At dinner time or bedtime, discuss how they did. Did they accomplish their goals? Pour on the praise! If they didn’t, what kept them from doing so? What can they do differently tomorrow to reach their goal?