Sunday, 6 June 2010

A goal achieved

Goal 20: To be a good example for my eldest daughter



I have hoped through writing this blog that I might encourage other people to achieve their goals. I've also hoped that as my kids see myself and my wife work towards and achieve our own goals, that they will be inspired to set challenges for themselves and find abilities they didn't know they had.


I've got big hopes for my kids. It is difficult though to know how to best teach and encourage them to achieve all they can. Ultimately, they have to choose their own dreams and achieve them themselves.

Last October (2009), I came to an arrangement with my eldest daughter. She has wanted her own laptop for a year or two. She was eleven. I personally feel that a high value item like a laptop is too much responsibility for a child to simply be given as a gift.

She had dropped numerous hints and outright asked when she could get a laptop for some time. With my own interest in achieving goals, I wondered if I could encourage her to set a long term goal and work towards it.

The discussions tied in with her starting at high school where she would have many friends with access to their own computers and laptops and talk of a monthly allowance.

While I want to give my kids everything they see their friends getting, I don't have an unlimited budget and want to teach them to value what they have.

For a few years we have been asking our older children to do daily chores in return for computer time or a small amount of pocket money.

I showed her how she could save a small amount each week by agreeing to do ten weekly chores for ten pence per chore. Last of the big spenders ain't I!

Then, by saving a quarter of her monthly twenty pound allowance and any money she received from birthday and Christmas gifts, we worked out she could save enough to buy a laptop for GBP 140. She had been doing her own research and had her eye on a netbook for that price. It was going to take until December 2010 for her to save enough but she was willing to commit to this long term goal.

It has been a difficult journey for us both. Her in disciplining herself to keep going when progress seemed so slow. For me, in having to learn how to both stand back and let her do this herself, but also stay involved in a positive way.

By a few weeks ago, she had saved enough for the original netbook. But she had set her sights higher on a stunning red Acer Aspire One. At GBP 250, it would still have been possible for her to save this by the original deadline but... on a cluttered shelf, a couple of weeks ago, I found an old savings account book that we had opened when our daughter was born. Having moved house several times, I had forgotten about the account. It had the difference she needed!

My daughter is now the proud owner of the laptop below. But more than that, she has achieved one of her first major goals!

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