Life Goals

To me, it is a shame that our schools don't help our children understand the process for setting and achieving their goals in life.  The simple model is to ask these questions.  Where am I, where do I want to go and how do I get there from here.

Starting from where I am I.   For most students, it is obvious that they are in school and the end goal is get out of school in some manner that will allow them to make money.  If the goal is to achieve economic freedom, the starting place is to record what you have or make to build the plan on. 

The big deal in most of our plans is deciding where we want to go.  This is hard in that there are a lot of intervening steps in most plans to get where we want to be.  A simple plan might be to be a Doctor.  College, Med School, internship then practice medicine.  Be a lawyer, college, law School, Pass the bar then practice Law.  The sad part is that most of us don't have an absolute point you call success.  Or, with the uncertainty of the future, how do you pick a specific point.  Broad vague goals are easy to say but difficult to achieve.

From the start of my life, graduating from High School was just a passage and not an end destination.  In 1965, there was this thing called the Draft that said - Go to college or go Army.  I started College but just never sat down and tried to see where I could be.  The Draft Board answered that question in the summer of 1966 and I found myself in the Army.  During all the tests at Fort Leonard Wood, MO I took an extra test because I had done well on the initial tests.   That test was called the OCB and I didn't have any idea what it really was.  It turned out to be the Officer Classification Battery  and based on my score of 121, I was found to be eligible for attendance at an Officer Candidate School.  They held a board and selected me for OCS at Fort Sill, OK.

The real clarification moment for me was in Vietnam I really decided that I wanted to be anywhere but there. The additional time in OCS gave me eligibility for enough time on the GI Bill to finish a degree.  The end at that time was kind of vague so I chose to get a degree in Business and go from there.                                                             

What I am trying to say here is that there are a bunch of roads to any end goal.  There is also room to change and the limit is endless.  For example, a good friend or ours had a College age daughter that loved the French language.  She wanted to be in a career field that she could use it.  Obviously, there are a limited number of places to use that skill, and most were in the teaching field.  The father made this offer.  Get a degree with a major in Business and and get a minor in french.  She did that and when she graduated found a job in a Bank in Saint Louis dealing with business for the French Legation there.  She would come to work, spend a couple of hours dealing with French Banks, spend a couple of hours with people sent to her by the French legation and the second half of the day dealing with business for the bank.  From there, she married, has a couple of children and is well on her way to putting enough money to retire well in a few years.

Another friend of ours had a daughter that wanted to be a Doctor.  About the time she was ready to Graduate from College, she was offered a position in the Medical Program sponsored by the Military.  For six years of medical School, she would owe the Military six years of service.  She attended Medical School as a 2nd Lieutenant and her 6 years as a Captain.  Last time I heard, she was a Lieutenant Colonel and married to another Doctor in the Air Force.  

Many of my friends in Wichita worked for Boeing, beech, Lear or Cessna during the day and attended Night School at Wichita State at night.  There are many college programs such as Friends University that are off campus programs that will get you to a degree.  many of them will give you credit for "Life Skills" such as Military Service.  In fact, my Military Service was a part of the Hours (Military Science and PE) that KU granted to me.

One of my friends went into an Apprentice program before he too was drafted and by the time he came back he was listed on their books as a journeyman carpenter.  He did have to work his way up from the bottom but became a Superintendent for a Construction Company and has done some super jobs.

The end of this story is that with a little help, most of our kids could develop a plan, revise that plan if necessary and execute that plan towards life goals.  


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