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The Importance of Goal Setting

I was reminded recently that when it comes to achieving educationally, there is significant power in the simple act of setting goals. The opportunity to sit down at home and work through a plan for the rest of the term will do more to help deal with time management, organisational and anxiety issues that most other strategies. Time spent helping them to plan will pay dividends for the whole family.

Parents and other family members are usually highly engaged in their child’s learning when they are young but even though they are best placed to know their son better than anyone else, that level of engagement with the learning journey can drop off as he grows older.

There are many valid reasons for this. Two of the most common are the general busyness of life and the attitude of some boys to parent involvement as they get older. While these are the lived experience for most of us, it is important to take a moment to remember what we are missing.

Goal Setting

The routine of setting out longer term goals combined with a weekly opportunity to put in place clear steps and a level of accountability for what needs to be achieved can be a bonding experience. It can lead to a calmer home and a greater sense of perspective for all involved. Although it can be difficult at times, if we can remain positive and measured in the face of a busy and difficult time, our boys reap the benefits and can learn from our example.

Encouraging Boys to Spend Quality Time with Family

When is it the right time to involve our boys in the cooking, cleaning, gardening and repair work around the home? All of these chores are part of working as a team, achieving goals and setting a standard. By giving your sons a list of chores to do, you are helping them set and achieve goals. By sharing the work around the house, you break down gender stereotyping and increase their ability to develop their personal skills, pursue their dreams (academic, sporting and otherwise) and make choices about their life plans.

Dinner Table Discussions

Don’t shy away from discussing politics, societal issues, great books or movies and important cultural mores because you may fear getting a bit of attitude or worse, an air of boredom. Armed with knowledge about the world around them, boys are able to consider different perspectives from a more informed point of view. Rather than view current affairs as being too complicated for children to comprehend, see it as their induction into the real world, and a way to help them understand that they live in relative comfort, safety and privilege.

It is never too early to start creating a sense of belonging, a clear routine and confidence in the future. These are key to a calm and happy boy. This TED talk looks at the power of executive function and the importance of context in learning new habits and setting goals. Enjoy.

Sally Flynn
Head of Inclusive Practices