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Goals for Family Life

Some of your family goals likely are interrelated with the other major goal areas of your life

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Despite what the media and some on the Left espouse, children need parents, and two good parents are better than one good one.

Young children grow up with the best chance of succeeding in life when they have two loving, caring parents. Certainly, a single parent raising children can do a wonderful job. Many single parents perform everyday acts of heroism when you consider all that they do.

You can strengthen your family by setting family related goals. Understandably, some of the goals you have for your family life are likely interrelated with the other major goal areas of your life.

The Most of Family Life

In her book, The Art of the Fresh Start, Glenna Salisbury begins her acknowledgment with a memorable phrase. She says, “Love fires my life and I have been surrounded by an abundance of supply of this precious commodity.” She is referring largely to her family.

If your family fits the traditional pattern or represents something new, you have the ever-present opportunity to improve the quality and overall health and well-being of your family and family relationships.

Suppose you are married and have children, are married and will have children, were married and have children, or will be married and contemplate having children in the future.

With that in mind, what kind of family goals do you have and what type of goals might be appropriate for the whole family, i.e., where every member can make inputs?

Interrelationships among Goals

One of your goals might be to provide for your children’s education, buy a better home, and be able to retire with grace and ease when the time comes.

Any financial goals you choose to pursue for you and your family need to be initiated as early as possible. All benefits, including compound interest, accumulating principle, even the discipline to start saving and investing in this manner, work out for the best when you begin at as young an age as is possible for you.

If your child is in grade school now, and you want to be able to send him or her to college, or a better high school, it will be easier if you start early.

If your child is thirteen-years-old, and you have five years to save, to accumulate a given sum you’ll have to put away three times or more the amount than you would if you started when your child was age three. That’s the way time, money, and interest work.

Show a More Active Interest

Suppose your goal is to take a more active interest in your family’s activities. This means spending more time with them, actually conveying your interest, being a good listener, and so forth.

Many people ‘say’ they want to be more involved with their family; they want to spend more time with their son, they want to attend their daughter’s recital.

The reality for many parents, however, is different. They might catch the last ten minutes of the recital, spend three minutes per day actually listening to their spouse, barely know their son, and so on. Is any of this familiar to you? We are guessing that it is.

The key to pursuing goals in a variety of areas is balance. Nowhere is this clearer than when in pursuit of family goals, because your family members are likely to let you know when you’re not upholding your word.

The Family that Plays Together

Another common goal area is trips and vacations. An old joke: A trip is when you bring the kids, and a vacation is when you leave them at home. You need both, of course, and significant differences accrue when the kids are not in tow!

How often would you like to go away with your family versus with your significant other? Suppose your goal is to take two trips of between three and six days with the kids, each year, and the same number of ‘vacations.’ Perhaps during the in between times, you also seek to take at least a few weekend getaways.

Realizing this goal would involve considerable planning – allocating funds, making reservations, coordinating schedules, including your children’s academic schedules, and handling projects at work in advance of departure dates.

Family Dynamics

How your family operates often is representative of how your life operates. Do you want your children to greet you enthusiastically when they return from visiting friends or an after-school activity? If they don’t regularly do this, then you might want to set a goal of greeting them daily or at some other interval with open arms when you return from work or time away.

Assuming that you’ve married the right person, if he or she hasn’t been responsive lately, perhaps it’s because you haven’t been communicating well.

When you compose a list of the things that aren’t working in your family, and choose areas in which to establish goals, often what you discover is that your own behavior and mindset are what needs changing first. Don’t say “if my spouse would change” …look in the mirror.

To influence another person, that is, induce them to change, the seeds of change or the desire to move has to already reside in that person. It’s tough to induce anybody to revise their approach to life.

As much as you think you can motivate and inspire someone to do something, in actuality, you can only plant the seed, and help it to grow.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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