As adults we set goals most of our life involving family, travel, career, making large purchases, etc. As a Dad how do I talk to an 11 year old about this subject? I gave it a shot and we started by talking about what is a goal? How do you set one? Why do you need to set one?
I personally felt that teaching her about goals early would be a plus in her life. Goals give hope! Goals give you a light to go after! Goals give you something to work toward… and a look into the future! Goals let you dream! I knew one day as her understanding grew she would begin looking forward and this would help her achieve more as she matured. So our next discussion began with a little 3 x 5 index card. I had her write down things she wanted to do.. no matter if they were school related … or whatever that she had a desire for.
As adults our goals change with age, experience, even financial outlook. So no matter what she wrote down as her desire it was ok. I knew as she aged her list would probably change as well.
We began calling the 3×5 card the ‘dream list” . That list included cutting out pictures of places or things she wanted to do … and research those things so she could make a plan. She had seen my wife and I talk about future vacations which we included her in the discussion. We talked about planning for a new car… things like that. So she could relate to dreaming and planning. Each discussion was a progression of understanding a goal. The following year we began narrowing it down into short, medium and long term goals. So… it was step by step understanding.
Even at a young age, goals can start to make sense. Well she really did get a a grasp and began achieving what she wanted to do. It was exciting to see her do this so early in life. As a tween I had asked about any updates to her dream list and she showed me her card. It read SKYDIVE! What is this, I asked silently to myself. I don’t think we are going to do this anytime soon. Then I glanced again and it said with Dad! After a BIG gulp, I remember asking her, what does this mean ? She so sweetly replied …. Dad I want us to both do it and have fun together. FUN, I thought? I really didn’t see that jumping out of a perfectly good airplane 13, 000 feet above the ground was too much fun. However, I said, well Kristina, lets mark this one as a long-term goal. In my mind … silently…. I was thinking very long term … but I didn’t admit that to her.
Years later as a young adult, she began talking about the subject again and did her own research on local companies doing Skydiving. She called me one day and said, “Dad, what are you doing on Wednesday afternoon? Well, I am not sure, why? Well I have us reservations to go skydiving! She reminded me of what she had written down years ago, so what did I do? What would you have done?
I took the challenge and we set the time to meet. It was a late afternoon and we wanted to jump together. However , the main jump plane was down for maintenance, so using a smaller plane we could only jump one at a time. The pilot wasn’t sure they could work me in after my daughters jump time since it was nearing evening. Now you all know, how sad I was to hear that, right? It was the end of the day and the sun had started setting.
Here was her mother and I watching her make her jump! To say the least, I was terrified watching my child jump from that plane. I knew it was out of my control and just prayed for safety. Another Dad standing next to me and had experienced the same feelings earlier.. he was consoling me. As she descended, I could hear her screaming to the top of her lungs with such girly excitement. I felt a sigh of relief when I saw that parachute open. At that moment, I was looking up and knowing she had accomplished a dream that she had set when she was only 11.
The next thing I heard was “okay Sir, are you ready? “ Ready for what and he said, “your jump.” I thought we didn’t have enough time? Well, we got time for just one more jump and it is yours if you want it? How could I see all the joy in my daughters face and let her down by me not jumping while I had the chance? So as my daughter was landing, she saw her Dad, walking to the load site. She yelled out, “Dad, it was so much fun!” Fun is not exactly what I was thinking, but it was something that I had promised my daughter. So here I go!
While ascending to the drop point height, the sun was setting and it was an actual beautiful one. I could see my wife and daughter looking up until I couldn’t see them any longer and I was thinking just how blessed I had been up to this point, and I was thankful to God for it all. My first book I was then writing was called PART TIME DAD, FULL TIME HEART and had not yet been completed. I had been stuck in writing the last chapter. It was then I got the inspiration for that chapter …. The Sky Is Your Limit!
For some reason, I thought of something I had heard John Maxwell say regarding The Law of Gravity. . . that “it works the same way every time!” I know crazy to think about something like that at that time .
There I sat on the edge of that jump door, watching the vastness of the world fly by as the plane approached the jump site and it seem to just go by in seconds. That is what it seems like as our children grow. They grow so fast and before you know it, they are going off to college or getting married. I was a little concerned to jump out of that plane but I had to face the fear within at that moment. After all, I had taught my daughter to set goals and face her fears.
Parents, what would you do if you really faced your fears? What if you pursued your dreams and setting great goals to work towards. Set goals in helping your children succeed in school and help them find their purpose in life. Help them develop a dream list, and write goals on paper or a 3 x 5 card and although the picture may change as they mature , at least they are learning the concept.
It was a big step of faith for me to step out of that plane but it was worth it! I had to give up control.
The Sky is the Limit for you and your children. You can soar high by taking that first step. The Bible teaches in Isaiah 40:31 that “they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” Unlike skydiving, no matter how low we go in life in making mistakes, we can always go back up. Doing the right things and setting goals, will ensure us that our parachute of life will open when we need it the most and bring us down safely.
If you feel less than a success where you are now, you can start where you are and determine in your heart to make the changes you need to land safely into your future.
Parent challenge … find a way to begin teaching your children when they are young about setting goals! Goals make a difference!