The power of having kids set goals

I watched a video of Phylicia Rashard, who played Clair Huxtable on the Cosby Show, and it influenced how I approached my children. It’s better to watch the video but here is the text,

“The rearing I got from my mother, words cannot express. I could live in any time, I could live in any country, I could live on any planet, and I would be fine. My mother gave us aphorisms to learn as children. One is the inner reality creates the outer form. And the other is the universe bears no ill to me; I bear no ill to it. I would teach my daughter to look within herself first. Before career projections before accepting ideologies and theories and philosophies of near and distant traditions. I would tell her to to look within herself to discover her own truth and to live in the experience of constant awareness of that truth within.”

I was noticing just this when I managed lessons with my children. I looked through my lesson plans and realized that I had done nearly every lesson that I had written down. The key here is I wrote them down. And then, somehow, magically, despite a busy schedule, I managed to do those lessons with my children. We learned about how iron flows through the body, we did long division, and more–things that require a bit of patience and skill to do. There is power in writing things down.

So, I told my kids this: your ideas become a reality. They were stunned by this. “Just by writing something down it becomes true!?” Well…sort of. The likelihood it will happen is much greater, is it not? I encouraged my two older children to write down one goal they had. When doing it, it was as if they had the power of the whole world at their fingertips. They loved it. My son wanted to win something in a video game. My daughter wanted to get her littlest brother to like her. When I first saw this, I wanted to tell her that her goal can’t be controlling someone else. But I let it be. It was our first foray into this. Let’s see how it goes.

Later in the week, my daughter, 8, came up to my son, 6, her little brother, to tell him, “Henry, can you help me count the drops of my vitamins?” We use trace minerals instead of synthetic vitamins to add minerals to our diets. She was basically flattering her little brother, on purpose. By letting him show off how smart he was, he was greatly endeared to her. I later complimented her on handling her little brother so well. She said, “Well that was my goal this week.” The goal she wrote down, to get her brother to like her, caused her to handle her brother with kindness and intention. I refer to the title of this blog, “The power of having kids set goals.”

Putting her drops in

I went to see a lecture about a high school in Texas which did something similar. It was a high school that extended from Montessori schools. Montessori schools usually phase out after age 9 or 10. Most haven’t figured out how to extend Montessori successfully after this. But this high school was doing well. Students directed plays, mentored the football team, and ran their own mock businesses–the practical life skills Montessori schools are known for. Colleges actively recruited from the school because students so reliably assumed leadership positions. And one of the things they did at this school was have students write down their goals.

This past week I watched as my daughter helped teach her brother how to cook dinner, hang towels, and clean up spills. It’s been a sight to see.

Little bro has a lot of gratitude for his older siblings

I also believe the other part of the quote from Rashad: look within before accepting any ideology. I am actually writing an entire book about it now, about moral bias. Moral bias is when a moral ideal seems to mesmerizing that all sense is lost. It shuts down, indeed, your inner truth. The book will be The Moral Bias of Objectivism: How Moral Ideals Cloud Objectivity. My site for it is

I document the age-related “stages” children go through. It’s those times children act up but on the other side is a new mental ability. I am constant advocate to respond to these demanding stages as the clues they are that something is going on with children. My website is and my book series is Misbehavior is Growth.

Amber lives life one written down task at a time. Send your friend and family to The Observant Mom.

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