Hope is not a strategy
Hope springs eternal this time of year. Students are returning to school with new school supplies, a clean slate, and likely some excitement and nervousness for their step up to the next grade. With a fresh start, many students return committed to “do better.” Whether that’s tracking their homework consistently, creating and sticking to an organizational system, not procrastinating (as much), or practicing self-advocacy with their teachers, students and their parents are hopeful that this will be the year it clicks and comes together.
However, hope alone isn’t enough to affect change or influence outcomes. Hope needs a partner: ACTION. To accomplish any of their goals and sustain new habits, students must have a plan. Saying “I will do better” isn’t enough to get it done. Success requires consistent effort, practice, and follow through. As the school year gets underway, keep in mind that while your child may have every intention (hope) of following through on all of the goals they set, they may not have the tools or skills in place to see them through to fruition. Hope is a powerful motivator, but it’s only a preliminary step to being successful. Help them set mini-goals to help bring the bigger goals to fruition. For example:
“I’m going to keep better organized this term” is a good idea, but it’s only a hope without a plan. Better is: “I’m going to set aside time on Sunday nights to go through all my binders and file away loose papers where they belong and recycle papers I don’t need anymore.”
“I’m not going to procrastinate” is an amazing goal, but it’s not realistic. Procrastination is managed, not fixed. Better is: “When a large assignment is given, I’m going to take a few minutes after school to review the directions and break it up into smaller, more manageable, pieces.”
With actionable plans and good habits in place, hope can become reality.