On New Year’s Eve…..
I was having a conversation with an acquaintance in the 1st week of January, where we exchanged the usual pleasantries. “Did you have a nice Christmas?” “Did you go anywhere nice?” “How did you celebrate New Year?” For that question my response was, “Oh my kids and I wrote our vision board goals for the year. Then we stayed up late watching a movie. It was great.” He looked at me somewhat incredulously and asked, “You wrote vision boards?” “Yes we did”, I replied with a smile.
What’s the right age to vision?
I never considered if our visioning exercise would be regarded as a weird thing to do on New Year’s eve. It made sense to me. It definitely beat going outside to watch fireworks in the freezing cold. To be honest this was the first time we had done this. There was no grand masterplan to take over the world either. I just reckoned this was as good a time as any to try it out. I also wanted them to start working on framing and building their mindset to help them achieve their goals. I’d love to know what you think about a right age to get your kids thinking about setting goals and vision for themselves.
In the lead up….
I told my kids at least a week in advance that I was planning this as a fun but serious family activity. After mumbling, “why?” I explained that it’s something adults do to help themselves set goals and plan on how to work towards achieving them. Next, I gave them examples of goals and aspirations they’d expressed to me they’d like to achieve in future. Then I explained how writing them down could help prepare the mind to work towards achieving them. I showed them an aspiration I had written down years ago which had recently come to pass. They couldn’t argue with that so nonchalantly agreed.
On New Year’s Eve at about 10pm I gathered some pens and paper and called our activity session to order. “What, are we seriously going to do this now?” they exclaimed. “You bet we are,” I replied with a loud guffaw. “That’s the price for letting you stay up so late”.
So what did we do?
We searched for and watched a couple of videos on YouTube of people explaining how they created their vision boards and why. I deliberately avoided anything too technical as I wanted them to understand the process but not get overwhelmed by the activity. One of the YouTubers was a teenager (so someone they could relate to), whilst the other was an established training coach. I paused the videos at many points to give them opportunity to ask me questions, and to reiterate key messages I wanted them to consider in creating their boards. Then we got down to business, and everyone spent about 30 minutes thinking and writing.
When the time was up we took turns in reading out what we had each written, then gave each other input on things to amend or add. The results were interesting and beautifully reflective of our different characters. For example on my son’s he wrote the bare minimum, and football and achieving sporting successes featured strongly. With my prompting this was balanced out with school and academic goals. My daughter’s was more detailed and creative, and featured goals covering health, morals, hair, her favourite activities and school. Mine obviously was in considerably more depth.
By the time we finished it was just before midnight. So we gave each other hi-fives, and prayed over everything we had written. As an extra treat we binged on popcorn and silly movies until we fell asleep. I was really proud of them for everything they’d expressed they wanted to achieve. They completed their boards the following day and enjoyed looking for pictures to stick on, and then designing them. As a parent it was great to get additional insight into their thought process. I also wanted to get a better understanding into what they regarded as their weaknesses, strengths, and areas they wanted to improve in. Their boards are by no means perfect, but they are owned 100% by both of them. I’m glad to say that already I can see them taking responsibility for what they put on the boards. They now have pride of place on their bedroom walls as visual reminders of what they’re working towards for 2019.
It’s probably too early to determine success of our visioning activity, but already I’m seeing positive developments. For example we’re 5 games in for 2019, and to my son’s delight he has already scored goals in every football match he’s played. As for my daughter she’s getting into scheduling time each week to work on a lot of the items on her board. I’m enjoying calling them out when their attitudes or actions aren’t in sync with what’s on their boards. Then after a reminder and quick lecture I’ve seen them own their actions and try again. We’ve scheduled monthly meetings to check in with each other and see how well we’re progressing. The first meeting is coming up next week and I’m excited to see how that goes. I will keep you posted.
So what do you think? Have you done any goal setting or vision planning with your children recently? What do you think is the right age to start goal setting for your children, and how did you set about doing it? I would love to hear from you if you’ve got any good tips to share. Another Africanfinestmum, Elsie Anakwue, a parenting coach recently wrote a great blog post on goal setting. Click here to read it, if you’d like some ideas on what to consider when setting parenting goals for yourself, and goals for your children.
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