For a parent and educational administrator like me, the term ‘Goal Setting’ evokes mixed feelings towards this all important term in the current scenario of ‘result orientated strategies for success’. Goal setting could be listed as one of the top three strategies towards promoting realities like globalization trends and Industrialization plans.
The ‘child’ in me says the goals could hinder the innate joys of childhood like creativity, spontaneity and curiosity to learn through explorations. The child’s basic nature could be curbed and diverted and probably even stunt his natural potentials, by restricting his ‘space’.
But my ‘adult’ rational thinking tells me that goals are an essential part of today’s existence. Without goals, we would be lost, one among the million, on the some journey. Goals are needed if one has to motivate oneself and keep him going on the path of searching for success. Goals also increase one’s sensitivity to one’s self worth and self identity. Goals keep one a ‘significant identity’ among the mass. Above all, goals give one a sense of control over one’s world and one’s destiny.
A goal could be of significance as much to a child as to an adult. If increasing the sales of his product to double by the end of two years could be a rewarding goal to a marketing executive, to a child, mastering his skills in memorizing up to the 12th multiplication tables by the end of the term could be an equally rewarding goal. Goals build self confidence in anybody who is good oriented.
It is very important to teach our children to lead a goal oriented life. This is not an easy task, as children, by nature cannot structure themselves in confinement. They need ‘space’ to grow, explore and discover. So it is imperative that we teach them to make goals if they have to face the competitive world of today.
Generally, it is found that goals have to be really SMART.
- S – Specific M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Time Board
Without these five determinates goals could become meaningless in serving their full purpose.
But with children, we could further break down these factors and make goal setting a simplistic exercise.
First of all, goals have to be personal. I have to help my child set goals, based on my child’s potential, not by the standards of say, may be my neighbor’s child or my cousin’s daughter, for instance. Each child is unique and may definitely fare better in one area than another. Of course, in a world where certain achievement guidelines are standardized according to the societal framework, though unfair, child is expected to reach those standards. So we may not be able to do much in this regard. But what we can do, as a confidence building exercise, is to help the child identify personal goals which the child can strive towards based on his/her own wants and needs. This would alternate them from a lot of unfair stress and anxiety.
Secondly, all goals must be realistic to become fruitful. Although most of the parents could be justified in having insight into our children’s immense potential and talents, we have to realize that there are serious limitations to them, to actualize them. I know it is good to feel that the sky is the limit. But only if our feet are firmly grounded in reality, can we look for the long lasting inner confidence that is needed to be built in our child for a long lasting successful life. So it will not be wise to set too challenging goals which will test a child’s inner confidence and make it very depressing if the child fails to reach the goal post. So relating to the first point mentioned above, let us set a goal that is of as much value to the child as any other and one the child can strive to achieve, without much angst in worrying about the result.
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