When was the last time you had a great dream? When I was a kid, I grew up on a military base in another country, far from the US, and everything I was familiar with had to be flown in my military cargo planes or by ships. The one thing we always waited for each season was a big Sears & Roebuck Catalog! ** After our parents were finished with the old catalogs, we [the children] had permission to cut them up. I was always dreaming about the home I would someday have and what I would put in it. You get the picture; the catalog provided everything a kid would need or want in that future home.
Our dreams need a plan. My sisters and I used butcher paper and mapped out the rooms to our home and then cut and pasted in the furniture into the rooms. When a new catalog came out, we would adjust our “house plans” to fit our “new dream.” When a house is built, it needs a plan, a blueprint, and without it, a house cannot be built. There must be a starting point. This applies to our lives, our schooling, our careers and our businesses.
So far, this year of 2020 might have started with a “plan” however, the plan quickly was snatched away, and someone else’s plan replaced yours. If you are like most Americans in this eight-month of uncertainty, you may find yourself living one day at a time in monotonous doldrums, wondering what new revelation true or untrue will show up to further throw you off course.
Today, October 1st marks 91 days until 2020 comes to an end. I encourage you to make your 2021 plans over the next 90 days. Get yourself a blank piece of paper, and instead of listing all the things you cannot do today in 2020. Then list the things you can do and what is bringing JOY into your life right now. Not one of us can know what 2021 holds, not one of us.
You might want to list the lessons you have learned in 2020, what has worked for you and your family, and what you look forward to doing in 2021. You and your family are a “TEAM” remember that, when one of you rises, all of you do. Our children need to know who is on their team and who is rooting for them, since their sports activities are limited or non-existent.
As 2020 draws to a close if your children are still distance learning come 2021, switch things up. Let your kids choose a new place to call “School” for the new year. This can be a simple as changing the room or rearranging their room. Let your child make the decision. The same may also work for you if you continue to distance work. If you sequester yourself in your bedroom, try another room.
I want to encourage you not to beat yourself up by putting a label or grade on yourself about how you faired in 2020. Everyone was thrown into the deep end of the pool without a lifejacket! You are not alone.
You might even want to do a community/street/or local ZOOM call with your fellow neighbors, friends, parents of other kids and see what is working for them in your area of the nation. Often a small thing, a small tweak can make a huge difference, and you cannot see it. Use the resources which you have at hand.
As we come upon the holiday season, remember to take the time to say “Thank-You” to all of those people who have helped you during 2020. I am not talking about buying something; I am talking about having your child draw a picture or write a note to a teacher, friend, grandparent, who has helped this year.
The same is true for adults. Go “old school” here and write a handwritten expression of thanks to those who have helped you through. I hear “bakers were born” all over the US during this time of quarantine; perhaps baking something with your note would be a great idea.
If you have a Junior or Senior in High School, the future weighs heavily on their minds, and they have more questions than answers. You will want to take some extra time with these young adults to help soothe the butterflies of uncertainty. This can be a simple conversation or encouraging them to keep a running list of the questions they have, or that keep them awake at night. Set aside some one on one time with your Junior or Senior to discuss how decisions are made and what the possible paths to their Dream might look like.
If plan A doesn’t appear, then show them how to have a great plan B, plan C, and so on. Having an alternate plan is not a sign of failure, make sure they know this! An excellent way to teach this is to use the analogy of a plane taking off from LA en route to NYC. When you look at a map, it pretty much looks like a straight shot across the US, but it is not that way at all. There are lots of variables that cause the plane to make hundreds of small adjustments to get to its destination. These are not “failures”; these are course adjustments. Our lives are full of course adjustments. Use adjustments in your own family to illustrate this to your kids.
Okay, let’s recap what we have talked about in this month’s blog:
- A dream requires a plan
- A plan is a dream’s blueprint from which the Dream can be built
- The best plans can and will change
- Every plan must have adjustments
- List the things in 2020 that brought you JOY
- List the things you can do or continue to do in 2021
- Switch things up at home
- Get help and ideas from others who are at home
- Say “Thank-You” to those who made 2020 great and supported you and your family.
- Help Juniors and Seniors plan and navigate their Dream after graduation
What have you done that has lifted others up in 2020?
You still have time to do this!
I learned a technique long ago that is the when you learn something you did not know before, “ACT” = Apply what you have learned in your life and profession, Change from the old to the new learning, and Teach what you just learned so another person may benefit from what you have learned!
**For those of you who are decades younger than I am, a Sears & Roebuck Catalog was a huge magazine type book that came in snail mail to your home and you could look through it and order anything you wanted, if you could afford it. Then you had to fill out an order form and mail it to the processing center. After some time your order would be delivered. From 1908 – 1914 you could order yourself an entire home from $800 -$2000 and have it delivered!
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