I've been talking a lot about sticking to your goals. It’s an important skill. The lack of this ability has killed many worthy dreams and closed the doors of opportunities before they could really make a positive difference in the world. Trust me, it is the slog and the grind of one foot in front of the other that makes things happen. Talent and aptitude won’t get you anywhere if there is no forward movement. There is just one catch: Not all tings SHOULD move forward.
New information can alter the best laid plans and completely change the course a project is heading in. For all of you parents out there, let’s use The Science Fair as our example. For the sake of agreement, our student is a go-getter with a passion for science and a true wish to bring home the ribbon. Picture this is you will:
Your child has decided to enter a really great example of genetic manipulation by cross pollinating a yellow marigold and an orange marigold. They are aiming for a striped offspring. They have a plan. They have their seeds and other supplies. They are prepared.
At first, everything goes as planned. The seeds sprout. Your child cares for the plants and records all the data. Flowers bloom and cross pollination is achieved with the careful use of a Q-tip. There is plenty of time for the seeds to form, be planted, and grow into new plants. Your brilliant child and dedicated child is even ahead on their display board. That Science Fair ribbon is in the bag!
Then it happens. The Universe tosses out a curve ball. Your neighbor needs you to babysit for a couple of hours and it turns out that the kid has a deep need to destroy plants. You find this out after a quick trip to the bathroom during which time the youngster has shredded the plants and scattered their remains along with all of the potting soul over what used to be your blue couch. Science Fair is two weeks away.
Although an excellent opportunity to help your child learn to deal with disappointment, it is probably not the best time to cling to the idea of sticking to this particular course of action.
There are other scenarios as well. Perhaps after struggling with your 3rd grade math curriculum for 2 months both you and your child are more confused by how to properly solve a world problem than before you started. Maybe you discover that you are allergic to shellfish which is the main ingredient in your new diet plan. Or possibly an unexpected move leaves you face to face with a change that will not allow room for your current plans to thrive. These things all mean that it is time to toss the old plan and find a new one.
This is not the same thing as giving up. This is admitting that no matter how much planning and effort you put into a project, something new can easily come along and bring it to a halt. Don’t fight it. Clinging to a plan or project that no longer works keeps you from putting your energy into a new plan that will.
Being a homeschooling parent for 13 years and an independent author/illustrator makes a person learn quite a bit about a lot of things. Now it's time to pass it on!