The definition of the respective aims in the previous post (Your Child, Your Goals) are not ‘cookie cutter.’ And I am pretty sure there is no dictionary definition for social terms such as functional, independent, life-balanced or spiritually led. Even the term ‘adult’ can be defined differently in many respects.
As such, active discussion between the parents on what both the goals are and what they mean is a critical step. This common understanding orients each parent and establishes shared understanding that helps guide us throughout our child’s life. I have my own perspective on each of the respective choices, some of which I cover in more detail in my Personal Insights blog.
Here are some of my definitions, which helped establish associated goals.
Adult: Since our girls went to college, for us full adulthood was post college graduation. I consider college students ‘transitional adults’ in that they have some autonomy but not full. Though once 21 years old they are adults by most definitions, if still in college I did not view / treat or consider them as such.
Functional: Able to function in society with a level of normalcy that includes such things as common courtesy, fulfilling responsibilities and being respectful of authorities. This includes a relatively high level of health mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually to preclude dysfunction as well as sufficient competence financially to be self-reliant.
Independent: Not dependent on us (my wife or I) to live their life. Able to live within their means, attain and sustain a job / career and have healthy relationships. Be self-reliant across all facets of life, seeking assistance only to augment their independent standing.
Life-Balanced: There is a lot to this one for me personally. This is multi-faceted in practice (as an adult) and includes mental, physical and emotional balance that supplements traditional ‘work-life’ balance. I can (and will) write an entire post on this alone, but that is for a later time.
Spiritually Led: Being personally led by the Holy Spirit throughout my adult life, this translated into raising my girls to not be singularly guided by man for life’s decisions. Teaching them to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit so they can learn how to hear His voice and act upon His guidance.
What are your definitions for these terms? Do you aspire your children to attain some of those attributes? As you set the goals, ensure you have an idea what that looks like, and use each to have clarity as you come up with a plan to enable your children to reach them.
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