Goals in Child-Rearing Terms

Definition: A goal is something that we want enough that we make an effort to reach it. A goal is not the same as a want. For example, a person might want a nicer car than the one he can currently afford to own, but it's not really one of his goals. Wanting a nicer car in that case is more like a fantasy. It's something a person might like to think about from time to time, but he has has no intention of trying to get one. A fantasy is just fun to think about. We can imagine what it's like to drive around in a nicer car than the one we have. We can imagine a smoother ride, imagine our friends being impressed with our beautiful and fancy new car, and we can imagine making use of all those bells and whistles that come with that car. But unless we want that car enough to work at getting it, it will remain a fantasy, not a goal. A dream could be a fantasy or a goal. When we want something, we often call it our dream. For instance, it might be your dream to own your own business. Or your child might dream of becoming a ballerina. But until we work on making that dream a reality, it will be a fantasy, not a goal. There is nothing wrong with dreams and fantasies. They can help us get through dreary days and imagine better things for ourselves and our families. However, fantasizing and dreaming, while fun and sometimes even useful, are not the same as goals. No matter how much we want something, no matter how much fun it is to think about them, they are not goals until we are prepared to work on turning them into reality.

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