I am a goal-setter. I’ve set my goals for 2017 and I’m very excited about them. January’s goals are being worked on now and it’s very motivating to know that I’m working toward something definite that will benefit our family and hopefully further God’s kingdom. My children are still small but I want to infuse them with the knowledge that they are created for a purpose. And if you have a purpose, you should be doing things on purpose to fulfill it. A few years ago I tried setting goals for them. There’s only one problem. Good goals are goals where you are in charge of the results. I can’t make my children do anything.
Now of course I’m not talking about behavior, like making them eat their broccoli or sit on a chair, I’m talking about I can’t make them read or walk if they have a delay or suddenly have a giving heart. I sat in a place of disconnect for a while wondering how I could move forward with training my children without trying to control things that only God can. So much of motherhood is lived in these in-between places. Finally I realized that I could set goals for how I interacted with them.
I can shape what my children are learning by what I’m modeling and teaching.
- Set goals that involve your work with the children. We will work on a reading lesson for 15 minutes four days a week. If he doesn’t read, we still succeed because I did what I set out to do. We will participate in one service opportunity per month as a family. Then hopefully my child will learn the benefits of giving and serving others but if not, we’ve still hit the goal.
- Set goals with process in mind and not results. Often I’m guilty of expecting my children to learn and grow as people faster than I do as an adult. These things that I want my children to learn and do will take time. They are a process. The progress we make might not be the progress I was expecting and that’s ok. We’re still moving forward.
- Set goals that involve the family instead of singling out one person. Since we homeschool I often do set goals that are particularly focused at one child but outside of school goals I find it’s easier to set goals that involve the family instead of pointing out the “failings” of a child that need worked on. Then I can pray specifically for that child without embarrassing him.
- Set goals but remember you aren’t ultimately responsible. I am responsible to mother to the best of what God’s given me. But there is much I can’t do for my children; only God can. God gave me these children even knowing that I wasn’t perfect and wouldn’t be a perfect mother. I can’t decide to set a goal of my children not getting sick or them accepting Christ. Those are things that only God controls. And it’s such a relief to me to know that I’m not responsible for those things, even though I can have them wash their hands and can teach them about Jesus.
I want to mother on purpose. But I don’t to mother in a way that sets me up for defeat before I’ve even started.
What about you? Do you set goals with your kids?