Friday, March 11, 2011


This is the 10th in my This I Believe series.


Right away I’m going to admit that I have never thought of myself as much of a goal person. Arrogantly, I think this is because I have generally been able to succeed with whatever I’ve wanted to do, and what disappointments have come along in my life have never been crushing. Okay, I didn’t get the job or well, I guess I live in Kokomo now, but it is what it is, so what next?

But in actuality, as I think back over the years since I graduated from high school, I really have been fairly goal-oriented. I’m realizing that goals also moonlight as short/long term outlooks. I like the term “outlook” or “plan” a lot better than “goal,” which to me has always come across as somewhat stodgy and snooty sounding. “My goals for the future are…” But to me, saying “I plan on…” sounds more realistic, down-to-earth and attainable.

So I plan on…graduating. If you’ve been paying any attention to my random bloggings and postings for the last couple of years, you know that this has been a very consuming focus of my life for the last couple of years. Unfortunately, this may turn out to be a $12,000 investment in nothing given the way that Indiana Republicans are treating education right now. (And just for the record, this last statement is not indicative of how I vote or how I am registered. It’s me expressing disappointment.) I find this beyond unfortunate since I chose my degree so that I become a better teacher. I really dislike having to re-think my GOAL. I need certainty, and this engenders ambiguity.

But my plans quickly coalesced to be part of a “we” once I got to college. Blessed indeed, my goals have always been accepted by my “we” partner. Thinking back now, I know that my parents treated my goals the same way that my husband does—supporting them, encouraging me in them, providing the basis upon which I could both succeed and fail gracefully.

As I become more and more enmeshed in the lives of teenagers, I’m becoming used to the shock that so many have no basis of support that I have always had. When I taught at Frankfort, the common goal among students was to get out of high school some way (not necessarily through a graduation ceremony) an d then work in a factory or as a beautician. I still think about that accepted and depressing outlook for life.

I admit that goals need not be absolute but they need be addressed. Goals are really a window into the soul in a singular way. I believe in the validity of goals, and while not necessarily comfortable to reckon with, they are…there. Like the clothes in your closet, it’s good to shift them around sometimes.

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