By: Mia L. Hazlett
Setting goals is one thing. For most it’s an extremely easy task. Achieving them is another thing. That takes a whole different mindset. I’ve found those I’ve encountered that find it easy to set goals, don’t have the honest game plan or intention for follow through. They make a new year’s resolution to lose weight (I include myself in this category), but prior to the execution of any sort of plan they are creating the “with the exception to” list….”except for when I’m tired,” “except for when it’s a holiday,” “except for when it’s a birthday,” eventually it becomes any day that ends in “day.” So if as adults we are not going to methodically plan out how to achieve set goals, what message of goal setting are we really sending to our children?
I believe it’s a message of “impossible.” I don’t know about you, but my kids have it in their heads, I can do anything. So if they see me not do something, it must be, “really, really hard” or impossible. So I’ve put my oldest in charge of me doing my crunches at night. I have to admit, I should have done it a long time ago. She uses her sister as a torturous heckler. While I struggle through them, they are heckling and doing them with me less the huffing and puffing. Jerks! Yes I did (in my head.) There is such a level of guilt and shame when I don’t do them, that it’s not worth being talked about, by the skinny mirror. That’s what jerky called her sister one day, when I was looking in the mirror making faces. I call my youngest my mini-me. She put mini-me in front of me and said, “this is your skinny mirror if you are feeling too bad looking in the real mirror.” Jerk! Effective, but she’s still a jerk. Again I say this all in my head. It’s been a while since she has had to remind me. Some nights I do it, some nights I skip out, but overall I’ve stuck to my goal of wanting to do at least 50 crunches a night.
In turn, I’ve been my children’s “motivator.” In my opinion, one of the most important fables you can read to your child is “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” The thing I enjoy about the lesson the most, by lying he only hurt himself. One of the weekly goals I have yet to have my daughters achieve is cleaning their room. It is absolute Barbie Zone and stepping on the floor can be excruciatingly painful. They make Barbie furniture out of Legos. Stepping on a Lego unexpectedly is the worst! It used to drive me crazy walking in, but now I’m to the point they are not allowed into my clean room with their stuff. They enjoy trying to bring Barbie stuff in or the stupid Legos, but are immediately asked to leave. They love sitting on my bed because I make it every morning. They choose not to make theirs and have crap all over it. They are not welcome to sit on my bed.
My youngest has caught on more than my oldest. My oldest plays has played the “girl” who cries wolf all the time, I don’t have the expectation of a clean room when I go upstairs. When I walk in and roll my eyes, she spouts something out from her “with the exception to” list, “I had a lot of homework so I couldn’t clean,” or her favorite, “This is all her mess.” Then I just say, “Whatever, you’re not hurting me.” Than I proceed downstairs to my nice clean clutter – free room.
You see, her not cleaning her room is like me not exercising and changing my poor eating habits. We are not hurting anyone, but ourselves. The consequences are, she tries to do her homework on the cluttered desk and doesn’t have room so she has to do it on the floor. Or she wants to lay out on her bed and watch TV, but is scrunched up because of all the crap. But she is not allowed to come and work in my room or lay on my bed. My situation is the same. My lack of discipline doesn’t hurt anyone, I just can’t wear the little dress I would prefer.
But the one goal I’m proud my daughters have seen me achieve is writing and publishing my book. My oldest more so than my youngest, heard me talk about my book for a year. She was kind of my motivator too, “did you finish it?” was asked on a monthly basis. When I did finally finish writing it, she would sit next to me some nights as I did my editing. Occasionally she would be my second set of eyes when I was tired. I would have her read aloud and just hear my book through her. Those were some proud moments – listening to my daughter reading my book. When I showed her the final copy she picked it up and hugged me. “Good job Mommy.” It was all worth that moment. She was so excited when I showed it to her on Amazon.
So maybe if I could keep up with my short-term goals, I may one day walk into a clean room. Because as my daughter went through the writing process with me, she had no worries with essays she had to write in preparation for her state tests (MCAS). She pretty much breezed through writing her 4-page essays over the past few months. Maybe I should just do my crunches in their room as they clean it?