Saturday, January 24, 2015

Name Your First Kid Augustus?

Ambitious goals make for outstanding achievements.

Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now

According to “The Goals That Guide Us” an article in Psychology Today (2010) setting goals makes people happier and achieve more than without them, provides focus, increases productivity, bolsters self-esteem, and are just downright motivating.  My first experience with goal setting was inspired by former Philadelphia 76ers president, Pat Croce.  It’s been awhile since I read his autobiography, but I always remember part of the book where he confronts the President of the NBA and tells him about his goals for the Sixers – winning a championship. Croce even takes it a step further and actually asks former commissioner David Stern for the NBA trophy he had in his office to take with him – that was how confident he was that he would eventually achieve his goal of an NBA championship. He didn't quite get there, but he came real close- and in some cases, the journey trying to achieve the goal is just as awesome as achieving the goal. From that moment, I decided that I needed to get my kids thinking about their future and not being afraid to chase their dreams.

Now Is The Time

The last thirteen or so years of my teaching have included an exercise in goal setting that many may think of as somewhat challenging for an eleven or twelve year old to complete.  There’s no grade for this assignment, the requirements are simple, and they have roughly two weeks to complete it. The due date is always the same January, 20th, the day following Martin Luther King Day.

The task is this:  I ask my students to list 101 goals they’d like to achieve in their lifetime. The goals should be typed or written neatly and they are required to share only five with the class. They need to make two copies (or I will make one for them), one to turn in and one to keep somewhere they will see every day. I keep the goals in a cabinet in my room and challenge them to come back when they’re seniors to pick up their lists.

This is one of the most rewarding activities I do with my students. Their dreams amaze me and inspire each other. I've included a few of the 14,140 goals below to show you what these outstanding kids will achieve someday.

I  Want To...

  • ...laugh as much as possible.
  • independent, yet not afraid to ask for help.
  • a happy, unregretful life.
  • ...prove someone wrong.
  • sushi.
  • ...donate blood.
  • ...see the Great Pyramids
  • ...have confidence in everything I do.
  • my first kid Augustus (my wife will probably never let me do that)
  • a good brother.
  • a person who gives people an inspiration to follow their dreams.
  • ...ride in a hot air balloon.
  • a program that allows little kids to get started in their careers.
  • ...change the world.

 I challenge you to do this with your kids. I have no doubt my students will change the world and they may even get to have a little fun along the way.

Students selected a few goals they'd like to achieve in the near future and developed an action plan.

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