Often times parents are approached by teachers and principals to “be involved” in their child’s education. Studies show us those students whose parents are actively involved in their child’s education are more likely to complete their high school education. While we all want to believe that we are involved, we can always do more.
Goal setting is a learned behavior. It is not instinctual. Conversations while riding in the car are perfect opportunities for discussing how to set goals and follow through on those goals. You have a “captive” audience, so to speak. Turn off the radio and give examples of how you set a certain goal and saw it accomplished. Have your child brainstorm two or three goals and write them down on a piece of paper or poster and put it where they can see them every day! If your child sees these goals daily, then they will believe they will happen!
It’s also never too early to talk to your child about his/her interests. Simple discussions of what your child’s interests are and how those interests can lead to a career are vital. Our youngest daughter has always expressed an interest in medicine. She told us, from an early age that she was going to be the “doctor in the family.” Whenever her interest would waver depending upon the latest fad, my husband and I would remind her of her goal. She graduated last December with a Master’s degree in dietetics and is currently a registered dietitian at a local hospital. She is very proud of her accomplishments, but informed her father and me not too long ago, that she still wants to get her PhD. in dietetics. Was I shocked? No, she has told us for far too long that being a doctor was her ultimate goal.
I found an amazing free resource online that can help parents begin these conversations. It’s called “What Will I Be, A Journey to Your Dreams." This online resource was produced by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and is targeted for fourth grade students. The link is: http://www.getreadyforcollege.org/pdfGR/WhatWillIBe.pdf.
Sam Veda is quoted in saying, “Inspiration acts as a catalyst for success.” It is our job, as “involved” parents to be the catalyst that inspires our children to success.
By Melodie Fulmer, executive director Parent and Community Engagement, State Department of Education