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Goal Setting for the Family


Goal setting creates space and time for the family


Did you read the report of the 9-year-old who was killed in an accident on her way to school? What added to the sadness was the father’s statement that “There are so many things I haven’t done with her yet.”


We can identify many things we regret not having done with our children. We live busy lives, with work and other demands crowding out the time and attention that we want to give to our families.


What is your goal this week as regards your job? I am sure you have little difficulty answering this question – you know clearly defined tasks and responsibilities because there are deadlines to fulfill and commitments to make good on.


What is your goal this week as regards your family? Many people have more difficulty answering this question. And because there is no clearly identified goal or task to focus on, attention and energy could be diverted elsewhere. It is common to feel guilty as a result.


On the other hand, if we plan and identify our family goals for the coming week, we would be more likely to organize ourselves around these goals in order to accomplish them. For instance, one goal could be to take your spouse out on a romantic dinner or a movie. (When was the last time you dated each other?) As a parent, one goal could be to take your child to the zoo, to the park, or to a school function. It also be an opportunity to make time for an activity you’ve promised long ago your little one.


Some goals may be difficult to schedule, like for instance: having a talk with your adolescent on a delicate matter. In this case, it is even more important to set this as your priority, in order to see it accomplished. Doing so will help you to focus and make space for your responsibilities to the family. By giving yourself a deadline, you are reminded to create an occasion, for instance, by inviting your adolescent to having a dinner date, just the two of you.


The first month of the year is always a cue for fresh starts and making goals. Let us remember that family too, deserves an important priority among our goals.

John Ooi is a father of six children. He writes regularly at It takes a Village to Raise a Child e-newsletter. Article is reproduced with permission.

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