First thing every morning, my kids ask the same question. What are we doing today?
Technically they might first ask, what’s for breakfast? But after that, it’s straight on to what are we doing today, or maybe the more adventurous what’s going to happen today?
I usually answer by asking what their goals are for the day.
Sometimes they look at me like maybe I am an alien.
Sometimes they answer, Our goal is to go to Disneyland! Let’s get in the car!
Nice try, guys.
But “goal” might be the wrong word for what I mean here.
A goal is something you can control. It’s an outcome you can work hard to achieve, something with checklists and one-two-three smart action plans.
I mean something more like “purpose.”
A purpose is not the same as a goal. It’s deeper. You can live in it, and you can work for it, but you can’t predict its outcome. You just have to show up faithfully and do the next right thing and see where that leads you.
How you spend today isn’t just about today. (I’m still trying to learn this, so my kids get to practice with me.)
You get to choose what to do with the time you’ve been given.
The truth is, there’s always more to do than there is time to do it in, but if you have a purpose in mind, you at least know which direction to walk.
I ask two questions to keep my focus on that purpose.
1. Where am I trying to go?
Whether we’re talking about marriage or parenting or friendships or work or art or projects or spaces: what’s my intention here? What’s my ideal outcome, my secret hope, my big-picture best-case scenario? What do I want for this area of my life?
What’s my direction?
Every day, I can make more choices that move me in that direction, and fewer choices that move me away from it.
2. Why am I even on this road?
This outcome I’m working toward: why does it matter to me? Why do I care about this? What’s my motivation for going in this direction instead of any other?
This “why” is what keeps you going when things aren’t rolling along smoothly. You have to know why you’re in this thing, whatever this thing is.
When you have a sense of your direction and your motivation, you have more peace—even if your direction and motivation change over time.
(Change is good. That’s how we know something is alive. It breathes and grows and moves and changes.)
When you focus only on today, anxiety and fear and that frantic-hamster-on-a-wheel feeling start creeping up.
Focusing on today gives too much power to the RIGHT NOW.
One bad afternoon can throw your confidence out the window.
But where are you headed, and why are you on this road? Those two questions can keep you focused for the longer-term.
More on purpose.
For even more on this idea of deeper goals, of purpose and direction, come visit me at Simple Homeschool. We’re discussing how to set those kinds of goals for your kids’ education.
We all have goals for our families, whether we’ve spoken them out loud or not.
I don’t mean the “what curriculum we’ll use” or “what we’ll study this year” plans. I’m talking about deeper-level goals, the ones that drive all those day-to-day decisions.
These are the kinds of goals you might think of as your intentions for your family, or your long-term hopes, or your mission.
Here’s how to set homeschool goals that work for your family.