Last year, Amye and I came up with our own version of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for Collier, complete with goals for him academically, socially, and functionally. Earlier this week, we sat down to look at how we did on reaching those goals last year. There were several that we met, and quite a few that we did not meet, not because Collier couldn’t stay the course, but because life got in the way and we stopped working with him on them.
We revised the goals to reflect what we think we can achieve this year. Revising IEP goals is quite common, as those of you who have children in public school and on the spectrum know, and the same should be true for us who homeschool. We should have goals for our children, and we do for Collier.
After Amye and I revised our goals for Collier, it was time for me to set my own goals for 2020. I broke them down into five different categories, and each category has a few goals in it. While I have financial, professional, and health goals that I want to reach [boring], the ones that garner the most attention, and are the most elusive it seems to reach, are those that are somewhat intangible and deal with family.
In truth, the toughest goals are all a subset of one main goal: to be a better father and husband.
Goal 1: I want to become more patient with Collier. On the surface level, I am a good father – I rearranged my schedule to help homeschool Collier [so did Amye], and I do things with him, help him with Scouts, etc., but there are times when I lose my patience with him. There are times when he just doesn’t get a concept I am trying to teach him, or he is stimming too much or just won’t let something go, and I lose my temper with him. In those times, we get frustrated and both end up upset. I want to be able to step back and give him a little more grace in those moments. After all, if it’s frustrating to me, how much more so is it for him, who’s dealing with it internally and struggling? I need to be supportive of him.
Goal 2: I want to be more forgiving of myself when I don’t 100% reach goal #1. I will do my darnedest to keep our “classroom” positive, but if I lose sight of that momentarily, I will forgive myself and immediately move forward. No dwelling on the past, no focusing on what has happened….just looking forward to our next little victory. Collier doesn’t hold onto his past failures, so why should I? This may seem like an insignificant goal, but I’m no good to my family if I’m wallowing in self-pity.
Goal 3: Learn to say no. This goal transcends a lot of areas for other goals, from personal to professional and everything in between. Here’s the reality: leadership is important, but we don’t have to be leaders in every organization that we are a part of. Sometimes it’s okay to be just a member – an active, supporting member. After all, there are tons of more actors in a successful motion picture than just the lead roles, and without the supporting cast, many times the movie wouldn’t be as successful. It’s okay to play a supporting role, and at times, an extra 😊. The result is to have more time available with your family, which is a more important leading role in my life anyway.
Goal 4: Court my wife. Go on a few “dates” and at least one overnight or weekend trip with Amye, sans Collier. This is something that has been bothering me for a while. I need to date my wife. Why? Because our relationship should come first; it’s the egg that came before the chicken. Wait, what? My point is, without our relationship being healthy, taking care of Collier, raising him, teaching him… those things won’t happen. Over the last few years, autism and homeschooling have taken priority over our relationship. Now that we’ve become comfortable with both, it’s time to enjoy each other a little more.
Those are my goals for this year – NOT resolutions, mind you. In my mind, resolutions are simply a way to sell gym memberships and plastic storage containers every January. My goals aren’t sexy I know, but as the disabled gym card and clutter in my closets testify, I’ve never really been able to keep resolutions anyway. So, I intend to keep my streak of not keeping resolutions alive this year by way of not making any. None. I will, however, make some goals for myself for this year.
Happy New Year!