I saw these questions over at Simple Mom’s and just couldn’t resist answering them. I love that they are detail-oriented because it’s one thing to say, “I’m going to lose weight” and quite another to actually list HOW you’re going to do that.
(Feel free to write your own answers in the comment section. Or if you blogged about it, leave a link and I’ll pop over!)
IV. Goals for Your Children
1. What are ways you’d like each of your children to grow in the following areas?
a. Physically: Tall and strong.
We worried about Jazz’s growth progress for a few years, but he’s really shot up there in this past year and I’m quite confident he will soon catch up to his peers. Kevin had a late growth spurt, too, so it seems obvious that Jazz, who is a carbon copy of his father, would be the same way.
I think Dude might be nearly done growing. I suspect he’ll grow another inch or two before graduation. He’s tall and skinny – he reminds me a lot of the men in my family, both in physical stature and looks. I am a little worried about Dude’s curved spine. It’s quite pronounced and he leans a little to the right, but I’m confident he’ll grow into his body and it will straighten out.
(And before any of you suggest it – there’s not a whole lot you can do for a curvature of the spine; I researched it. He can wear a full-body brace but the end result is not much better afterward and there is surgery, which is risky, painful, arduous and again, doesn’t make that much difference in the end. He’ll be fine. Trust me. Trust God).
b. Emotionally: Well, they’re both teenagers, so they have some maturing to do. I find myself wishing they would just hurry up and mature already, but you know, life slips by so fast anyway, I need to stop thinking that way.
I’m very thankful that both boys have a strong emotional base. They don’t have any mental issues (that I’m aware of) and seem to be pretty well grounded. I know some of this is due to genetics, but I would also like to think that I’ve played a pretty big role in their emotional development by trying to teach them to control themselves and to not sweat the small stuff.
That small stuff can really get ya, if you’re not paying attention.
c. Relationally: Jazz is very outgoing and an extrovert, Dude is the polar opposite, though if he gets to know you, CAN be quite outgoing and funny, if he chooses to be.
Jazz has already had his heart broken by a girl and is usually quite open about who he likes. He’s expressed an interest in asking girls out to the school dances quite a few times, but then he chickens out at the last minute and doesn’t ask them. (I’m sort of relieved, if you want the truth. Though I never discourage him from taking the bull by the horns and just asking them).
Dude, on the other hand, is very close-mouthed about girls. Though we’ve suspected he’s had crushes on girls in the past (judging by his sudden defensiveness and scarlet cheeks), he’s never openly talked about girls or expressed an interest in asking anyone out. Again, I’m sort of relieved. There will be PLENTY of time to cross that precarious relationship bridge later.
I am curious though to see what sort of girls they will be attracted to and who they will eventually start dating and/or marrying (though Dude insists he’s never getting married OR having children).
d. Spiritually: I hope Kevin and I have set a solid spiritual foundation for our boys. As you know, we don’t go to church, we prefer to listen/watch teachings from the Truth or Tradition ministry and we read a chapter out of the Bible every Sunday for Bible study.
Our boys know the foundational truths of the Bible and are quite confident (I hope) in their beliefs. They are more than welcome to look into other religions and weigh for themselves whether what we, or the ministry, has tried to teach them over the years. But either way, Kevin and I taught them about God’s wonderful mission for us and we hope they carry those lessons with them throughout their entire life.
I think it’s crucial to teach children about faith. I think, generally speaking, too many people are searching for answers throughout their life – and that can manifest into always moving from location to location, or never being satisfied with something or just having an overall feeling of discontent with their life. I firmly believe it’s largely due to the fact that they don’t feel comfortable, and/or grounded, in their spiritual life.
I pray the boys feel like they have solid ground under their feet and grow up satisfied and secure in their knowledge about our wonderful God and His son, Jesus Christ.
e. Educationally: For now, I would just like to see them graduate from high school. And not JUST graduate, but graduate with decent grades – something they can look back and be proud of later.
Right now, going to school are my boys’ jobs. I fully expect them to show up every day, to do their best and to perform above average. Education is about so much more than grades – it’s about commitment, consistency, success and failures. It’s about learning to manage all of those things and then manipulating those lessons into something concrete and beneficial later in life.
If parents aren’t taking their children’s education seriously, why should they expect their children to? Success is hard work and school lays the foundation for that success later.
I would like to see the boys go to college, but let’s be realistic – it’s not always necessary, depending on what they want to do in life. Kevin and I have had looooong talks with the boys about trying to find a career that interests them but at the same time, something they can make money at and support a family with. Fair or no, there is a lot more pressure on men to develop a solid career base so they can support a wife and children some day, than women.
We’ve also taught them that if they have children, someone needs to stay home and take care of those children whether it’s them, or their wife. If a person doesn’t want to make career sacrifices for children, then don’t have children.
f. Other: See above answers.
2. How will your children be educated this year? What are some resources you’d like to explore to help your children develop intellectually and academically?
The boys both go to a public high school. We are quite satisfied with their educational choices and though there are times their teachers are less than stellar, we have that option of stepping in and saying something about that. (In fact, we may have to do that with Dude’s math teacher. From what Dude says, his teacher is never there, he doesn’t grade tests for weeks and never hands the tests back so the kids can learn from their mistakes. It shows in his grade. IF we get to the point where we have to have a conference with his counselor, we will certainly bring those issues up. We firmly believe that if we, parents, want our public school system to get better, WE, the parents, have to step in and make it happen.)
There are a ton of intellectual and academic options for children nowadays. One such resource is the ACT test. Schools offer classes to help students prepare for the test, as well as online options to help students practice for the test. Dude and I went to the bookstore the other day and bought an ACT workbook to help him prepare to take the test for the first time in April. (Counselors recommend the kids take the test for the first time their Junior year, and then re-take it their Senior year. Colleges will then take their best test score).
It doesn’t matter how or where your children are educated, the resources are available, it’s just up to the parents, once again, to get involved and utilize those resources.
3. What are your children’s strengths? How will you help them use these well?
Dude’s strength is his focus and determination. When he wants to (and this is key), he has INTENSE focus and determination. He’s also very stubborn and though that can have negative connotations, I think overall, it’s a good trait to have.
Jazz is friendly and curious. He gets along with everyone he comes into contact with and he loves to ask questions and explore new possibilities.
Both boys are very smart. Jazz’s intelligence comes a little easier than Dude’s. Jazz has the ability to analyze and come to logical conclusions, it sometimes takes Dude a bit longer to come to the same conclusion, but once that light bulb goes off in Dude’s mind, he’s off like a rocket.
I make a point of reminding them of their strengths a lot. There is so much that can get them down and I think it helps to hear me back them up and to know that me and Kevin are always on THEIR side (within reason, of course. Now if they commit a crime, they must pay for that crime, but you know what I mean).
4. What are your children’s weaknesses? How will you help them overcome these?
Dude has a tendency to give up on things too quickly. If he doesn’t master something immediately, then he gets very frustrated. Again, it depends on what it is. If it means something to him, he will continue to try until he does master it, but if it’s something he doesn’t care too much about, it’s a real effort to make him go back and try again (I’m talking mainly about math, here). Dude also has a tendency to forget things, like basic elements. He remembers what he wants to remember and right now? The things he’s remembering will probably not serve him later in life and the things he’s forgetting (like basic math concepts) will probably cause him some hardships later in life.
Jazz is oblivious. He honestly doesn’t see things that are right in front of his eyes. He has a tendency to overlook things and just sort of go off into his dream world. I have to constantly tell him to pay attention to his surroundings. He also forgets things. Constantly. He has a one track mind and though that can be good in some things, overall, it might bite him in the rear-end later on.
V. Money Matters
1. What is one specific area of progress you’d like to see this year in your financial health?
Let me preface this section by saying, Kevin is an accountant. And we’re both very money conscious – as in CHEAP. We honestly don’t spend money that often and when we do, it MUST be on a good deal or something really worth it to us. As a result, we are debt free. We got this way by being frugal and working our tail ends off.
With that said, I’d really like to have more money in savings. We’ve worked and paid off our debt, so though we have some money in savings, it’s not as much as I’d like. This is especially important now that Kevin will be without a job beginning in March. Though I’m confident that he and I will return to the work force, full steam ahead, it would still be a peace of mind for me to have some money in savings to fall back, just in case.
Though I want to save money, I would also like to take advantage of our youth and LIVE a little, too. If this means taking awesome family vacations, then so be it. For us, right now, it’s more important that we make some awesome family memories than to have a lot of money saved up.
You can’t take it with you when you die, right?
2. How is your current income? In what ways can you make this increase?
I’ve mentioned this before – we’re in good shape, debt wise. Kevin is getting a severance package from his company and we’ll be fine for a while. We’re reached a threshold in our lives and now it’s just a question of figuring out which doorway we want to step through at this stage in our lives.
3. How much debt do you have? In what ways can you eliminate a sizeable portion of it (or all of it) this year?
4. How is your savings account? In what ways can you save more money this year?
5. What are some of your long-term financial goals? In what ways can you make progress on them this year?
Basically, at this point, we’re working on our retirement.
6. Are you giving regularly? If not, in what way can you give financially this year?
We give monthly to the Truth or Tradition ministry and every year at the holidays, we give a substantial amount of money to help our local foster children. We also regularly give to the Salvation Army in lieu of clothes and other usable items.
7. What is your plan this month for starting progress towards better financial health?
VI. Relationships Outside the Home
1. In what specific way would you like to grow in relating to your friends this year?
This is a weird section for me because I don’t have any friends. I just have Kevin and my family. I would LOVE to find that ONE girlfriend, a woman that I have a lot in common with, who doesn’t come with a lot of emotional baggage, who enjoys being married and has no desire to play the field, who loves her children but doesn’t live for her children, who has a sense of humor and is not afraid to speak her mind (but not so much that she’s insensitive or hurtful to those around her).
If you know of anyone like that, please apply within. 🙂
I have yet to find that special girlfriend but I would love to find her. There are days when I CRAVE that female friendship. *sigh* Perhaps my expectations are too high?
2. What are some ways you can be of service to your immediate community?
I currently maintain two local school websites for free. I feel I’m doing my community a service by providing valuable information to parents they might not otherwise receive (because we all know what happens to papers in backpacks, right?).
I would love to find more opportunities to do more, though. The problem with that is balancing the time required and not taking too much time from my job and/or family. There is such a thing as volunteering TOO much.
3. Who are some specific people in your life that can use some encouragement? What will you do to encourage them this year?
Well, there are my boys. They always need encouraging. Kevin needs a lot of positive re-enforcement right now given his job situation. I have a nephew that is at a crossroads in his life and I think Kevin and I can help him, if he’s willing to listen and take our advice.
I know of a woman who is having a rough time in her life right now. My first inclination is to step away from the situation as I am loathe to get myself into someone else’s drama, but if she needs me, I will certainly be there for her.
4. Who are some people in your life that you admire? What are some practical ways you can positively use their influence in your life?
I really admire Kevin. I admire his motivation and determination to get things done in life. My man doesn’t mess around. When there is something that needs to be done – he does it. He doesn’t waste time talking about it or lamenting about it – he just does it. I really need that right now, especially now.
I admire my next door neighbor and that’s quite by accident. I was going out to get the mail yesterday when I stumbled on a piece of paper laying in our yard. It was crumpled up and it must have blown out of his trash when his trash was picked up. It was a query letter. He was trying to sell his novel. That … was an eye opener for me.
That query letter should be MINE. I need to stop pussy-footing around and just do it, for pete’s sake.
5. Are there any damaging relationships in your life? What will you do this year to make these relationships better?
I think I have a few relationships that CAN be damaging. It might all depend on how I handle them. Again, I’m learning to keep my big mouth shut. Just because someone is not living their life to my expectations doesn’t mean it’s not the right kind of life for them.
I have a tendency to avoid damaging relationships. Life is too short for drama and if I can avoid any sort of drama, at all, I will.