Ahhh!! It’s January, the beginning of a new year. Time for those New Year’s resolutions that we all make each year. Loose weight. Study harder and get better grades. Take a trip to …
Each January we make resolutions for goals we want to accomplish in the next year. For many of us these resolutions are broken before we get to January 15. Maybe it’s because these resolutions were not really goals but were merely dreams. I once worked for a sales manager who said that dreams became goals when you wrote them down on paper. He said you should have five goals for the coming year; three goals to accomplish in the next five years; and three lifetime goals. Write them down on a piece of paper and keep the paper in your wallet. Whenever you have extra time or don’t know exactly what you want to do, take out the paper and review your goals.
Many years have passed since I worked for this sales manager and I will have to admit that I haven’t always followed his guidelines. I also will admit that he gave me something to think about. Maybe this is the kind of guidance we should pass on to our Scouts. Having specific goals focuses our activity. If we know that we want to graduate from high school, we focus on getting grades to graduate. If we want to go to a specific college, we focus on meeting the guidelines for that college (grades, SAT scores, course requirements, leadership activities, etc.). Setting goals in Scouting can help us attain some of our other goals.
Some Scouting goals are easy to set: get my Wolf badge; earn 3 merit badges at summer camp; be elected Senior Patrol Leader; become an Eagle Scout. Some other than Scouting goals require more thought: attend the Navel Academy. If the five year goal is to become an Eagle, then earning the Wolf badge is an important step. The merit badge selection for summer camp will include swimming or another “required” merit badge. Being the SPL is desirable because it shows strong leadership. Also, if becoming an Eagle is important, a Scout will plan for all the time sensitive requirements so that all these requirements can be completed before his 18th birthday.
What about that Naval Academy goal? A few years ago I reviewed the NROTC application for colleges. For the Boy Scout activity, there were three boxes to check:
Senior Patrol Leader
What these organizations are looking for is leadership and the ability to set and attain goals. Setting goals and focusing on attaining these goals is an important value that we can pass on to our Scouts.