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celebration

how to set goals with your kids

I feel like I talk about goals a lot for my out of a business office atmosphere. I’ve never quite understood why the concept of goals seems to be so heavy in business work environment, but so lacking in a home, family or personal environment. Aren’t the later actually more important, more valuable, more worth setting goals for? I know there are some of you out there that feel me on this, I’ve heard you talk about them too! Especially my homeschoolers out there, setting schooling goals for each kid every year.

Since this is something I may or may not be a tad obsessed with, I incorporate the family into my own personal goals every year. No these are not new years resolutions (aka wishes), these are actual, measurable, tracked goals for the year. This year I decided the kids were big enough to participate as well, and we picked something we all could work on together as a family. Flossing.

Yep, simple, easy, but something that is often overlooked for all five of us.

First we set a measurable goal and made it specific – 30 days of flossing, all five of us, no missing a day or we’d have to start all over.

Second, we set up a way to track it and put it in a highly visible place – here is our completed 30 day sticker chart of awesome!

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This was right outside the bathroom they flossed in, only three feet from the floor so it was at their eye level. Every morning the kids got to mark off another day done and see their progress. I was honestly expecting to have to restart this a few times as they got in the habit, but they did not want to miss a day once this chart was up.

Finally, we picked a reward to celebrate our success!

This is the hardest one for me, once I’m on a roll I have a natural tendency to add more to my goal, make it bigger, stretch farther. I try to stop myself from doing this, especially with the kids. It’s so demoralizing for them to have an end be almost there and then watch that end move (it can be for me too!) But, I’m getting better about leaving the original goal the goal and celebrating it’s success, THEN setting a new one and starting all over.

We all need a chance to celebrate actual accomplishments (and yes I feel flossing everyday for a 5, 7, and 9 year old is an actual accomplishment!) Kids are often lacking opportunities to celebrate something they actually accomplished on their own. Not just showed up to, but actually participated in and achieved. It really doesn’t hurt the adults in the family either! We all need wins.

So here they are celebrating, they picked Menchie’s for their reward. It was oh so yummy.

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Being a goof, as per usual. Get one of me with my spoon like this mom. Ok, let me see that.

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Mmmmm….it’s so good mommy.

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This picture was immediately followed by “I want more!”

Time to set another goal! We are trying to decide what our next family goal will be over here, mommy has a few ideas, but we need whole family buy in!

What goals are you tracking right now? What would you like to set?

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free at last!

It’s hard to express the feeling I feel right now, but it is good, very good.

Today I made the final payment on our last credit card. The FINAL payment, even earlier than we or any one else expected.

WE ARE OUT OF DEBT!

I can hardly believe it. January 2006 (and yes I remember the month, it was a very significant and intentional decision) we stopped acquiring more debt. I say stopped acquiring, because to say we were paying it off would have been laughable. We didn’t even know if we had enough to make all our minimum payments at that point. There were many months when we could barely eek enough for the $30,000 (I cringe to even see that number) of debt we had accumulated.

The financial story of the last five years has been anything but a steady climb to financial security. In the past five years we’ve made a major move to Orlando, with a brand new baby and no jobs, and we had three children with all that entails. There have been many set backs on the financial plan, many times we had to take payments back to the minimums for a season, but as soon as there was a raise, a change in payments, anything, we put more on the debt.

We knew what we were doing was right, but that doesn’t go far. Actively paying off debt sucks, it sucks royally. Do you know what it’s like to watch everyone you know buy new EVERYTHING while you’re driving a car with no air and clipping coupons for groceries and putting three car seats in a gallant? While the economy was booming, we were scrimping, when we didn’t really HAVE TO. We had the money, we just wanted it to go to something else. We gave ourselves rewards, don’t get me wrong. Every debt paid off was celebrated, within reason.

I was hesitant to even say anything, people are so weird about money. But I couldn’t not. I had to say something because doing the right thing has finally paid off! FINALLY! Five stinking, painful years later, it’s paid off! And THAT is worth shouting.

I feel so free, so light, weightless, so overwhelmingly grateful. This Christmas is going to be good, I’m already scheming on what I can now get people. We’ll be able to take a vacation next summer, IN CASH. I’ll actually be able to buy a plane ticket to Korea to see my sister!

God is so good sometimes I can barely stand it, and not only in the way us westerners view his blessings and provision. But he is good in the wisdom he provides to guide our behaviors. The lifestyle we had to adopt to pay it off has brought us the blessing of simplicity, and the reward of paying it off has brought us a generous new freedom.

His ways really are better, and I not only know, but now I feel it as well. I can only pray that lesson permeates my whole life.

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