It’s hard to believe, but back to school is right around the corner. I always love this time of year. Even though the season is waning cooler and days are becoming subtly shorter, it feels like a fresh start for kids and adults. With that new beginning in mind, my family and I will be sitting down this week and opening up our PASS notebook. We started the PASS notebook several years ago as a way to reflect upon our successes over the past year and set new goals for the year to come.
PASS stands for Physical, Academic, Spiritual and Social. Each family member selects a goal for each category and we record them in the notebook. For example, my seven year old last year chose reading chapter books independently as her Academic goal. My 11 year old decided to try to make five friends as he entered a new school for his Social goal.
It’s pretty easy for the kids to come up with their goals, but the adults also participate. I set getting to yoga at least once a week as my Spiritual goal….I’m happy to report I was about 90% successful. My husband and I vowed once a month date nights as a joint Social goal. Learning more about photography was his Academic goal.
I would love to take credit for this idea myself, but I have to tell you what inspired the PASS notebook in our house. A few years ago I was privileged to attend the 50th wedding anniversary celebration for my dear friend’s parents. This is a couple I have known since I was about 11 years old. They have three amazing, successful and happy adult children. Each of their children spoke at the celebration and expressed their gratitude for the guidance their parents had given. I sat with tears in my eyes only hoping one day that I might hear such high praise from my own children.
What struck me in those three tributes was the repeated mention of goal-setting and facing challenges. Each one of the adult children thanked their parents for sitting down with them every year and specifically laying out a plan for the upcoming year. They learned valuable lessons about expectations and keeping the bar raised high. And the results are truly outstanding. In addition to being Ivy League grads and national competitors in various disciplines, the adult children are wonderful spouses and parents who participate actively in their communities and volunteer in the service of others. They are a close-knit family who have weathered many storms and still hold strong. In my mind, observing their family for 30 years was better than any “how-to” parenting book.
Hence the PASS notebook was born in our household. I look forward to opening it up next week and beginning a fresh new year. Do you have any goal-setting or beginning of the year motivators in your house? I’d love to hear from you!