BayouKidz: Setting Goals
Encouraging Your Children to Create Goals for Themselves
article by Cindy G. Foust
Happy New Year to our BayouLife nation, as I kick start the year 2017 from the comfort of my office, listening to my Ambrosia Pandora station (because quite frankly, the Christmas music was “just for” getting on my last nerve.)
You know, when I was a child, the year 2017 seemed like one of those distant Sci-Fi times where everyone would be living in a space ship, and we would be grocery shopping on Mars. Alas, however, we are still living in a normal house, driving a normal car and shopping at a normal grocery store. Well, except for last week when I was grocery shopping in the refrigerated meat section, and I was traumatized by the “chicken paws” that were for sale. Wait, what? They looked like little fingers and toes and I have to admit, I nearly screamed on the grocery aisle. Well, that’s not entirely true, I did, in fact, scream, and then I did what every other person in the entire world of the universe does when they come across a pack of “chicken paws” in the grocery store…I googled them.
As a general rule, they are used for flavoring in your food. Quite frankly, I’d rather season my food with a cow patty (yes, yes, I just said “cow patty” in my column) than these scary little parts of the chicken (because some cultures feel we shouldn’t waste any part of the chicken, therefore, they eat the paws…just FYI.) But after further research, (yes, this month I went all out to give my readers a good dose of expert input) I found that there is actually collagen in chicken paws, and it could help you have healthy, younger looking skin. Are you kidding me? Did I, Cindy Foust, just discover an alternative to surgical and non-surgical facial enhancement? And it’s right in the meat department of your grocery store for the nominal fee of only $1.24? Oh, the joy this column brings me, in being able to help my readers, month after month, especially when I can actually write my article on the same topics that the magazine highlights, this month just coincidentally being “Health and Beauty.” I think we should actually start a “chicken paw” support group now, and everybody bring their special preparation tips, and we can all have beautiful skin using leftover chicken parts. You’re welcome.
So, now what? Is that all I got for January, you’re asking? As I celebrate my fourth year with BayouLife, I find myself some months, wandering around aimlessly through this Lucille Ball life of mine, trying to keep my column current, and relevant, and interesting for my readers. My goal is to try to elicit a chuckle or two from my readers, all the while, attempting to strike a cord with fellow parents (and grandparents) as we navigate parenthood together. I’m not fishing for a complement, I’m simply saying, life, well, my life anyway, certainly provides ample opportunities to write about.
Like this month for instance, since I have already saved the complexion and skin tone of the BayouLife nation, my goal is to, well, talk about goals. It’s that time of year when most adults are busy making resolutions and setting goals for themselves. But what about your children? Do you ever encourage them to set goals for themselves?
Goal setting is the “first step toward goal achievement.” I like that idea…a lot. Kids today (well, and grown-ups, too, for that matter) live under intense pressure to succeed and be successful at everything they do, no matter what that is. Grades, sports, cheering, band, choir, jobs…the list goes on and on. But guess what? Not every child is capable of making straight As, or being an All-Star cheerleader or being in All-State choir. These are tough pills to swallow sometimes, but the truth is, they don’t have to be. What they have to be is “the best they can be” (gosh, I hope I sound like Dr. Seuss more everyday…that’s my goal anyway.)
Goal setting, for any person, at any age, is what takes us forward in life, and helps us realize or achieve dreams we never thought possible. It also holds us accountable, especially if we write it down and keep it at the forefront of our minds on a daily basis. I will admit I’m the world’s worst at writing my down and monitoring my progress, which is not surprising probably for people who know me, because I have that sort of “there’s a bird” personality. I wish, however, I had started earlier, perhaps I would be more disciplined, because goal setting and goal achievement are about discipline.
Oh, and perseverance. I love what Jim Wiltens author of Goal Express says about goal setting for children. First, he says, they must write it down, so they can visualize it. This could be for something as simple as saving for a video game they want. Which is the next step, and that is to make their goal specific.
Next, write down the pros and cons of each goal, even if it’s just one goal they have on their list. I love the fourth step when he says to define the steps by asking the “three W’s”: Who can help?; What do I need to do?; and When do I need to do it? I love this.
Finally he says, to monitor their progress. Not every goal will be attainable in a nano-second. But every goal that your child sets is noteworthy to them, so it should be noteworthy to you. That’s part of our job, as parents, is to be cheerleaders, encouragers and gate-keepers. Helping our children realize their goals is a privileged part of being a parent.
Our children are going to fall short sometimes, they will get frustrated and, perhaps, want to give up. But as a parent, we can stand in the gap for them when this happens and help them refocus or readjust their strategy. We can be an example for them by setting our own goals and show them the different steps we are taking to realize our own dreams or ambitions.
Goal setting at an early age can become a good, healthy habit that follows them into their adulthood. And goodness gracious, we all need as many healthy habits as we can stand, right? So get cracking readers…get those notebooks out and sit down for another infamous “family meeting” with your children and start working on goals for 2017: A Space Odyssey (that sounds like a cool children’s book) and approach this as a family project. Hold each other accountable throughout the year and applaud their successes as they reach their goals. It’s a great, “healthy” way to start the new year, much healthier than using chicken paws to enhance the flavor of your soup, in my humble opinion.
Happy New Year readers, I know you can’t wait for my next shopping expedition, so I can continue to be instrumental in helping wage the war on wrinkles, goal achievement and food enhancement.