by Denis Waitley
An Indian guide who displayed uncanny skills
in navigating the rugged regions of the
Southwest was asked how he did it. "What is your
secret of being an expert tracker and
trail-blazer?" a visitor asked him.
The guide answered: "There is no secret. One
must only possess the far vision and the near
look. The first step is to determine where you
want to go. Then you must be sure that each step
you take is a step in that direction."
A dream is what you would like for life to be. A
Goal is what you intend to make happen. A goal
is the near look; what, specifically, you intend
to do on a daily basis to get there.
No matter what their current ages, try to
determine the sensory learning style of each of
your children: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic.
Visual learners understand and remember best
what they see. Auditory learners prefer to hear
and verbalize in order to comprehend.
Kinesthetic learners need to involve touch and
movement into the processing of new concepts,
and to learn by doing. All of these styles have
some overlap because we all use hearing, seeing
and doing. But keep these styles in mind when
you stimulate your children’s creative and
To build a pattern of positive expectations for
your children, they need a way to keep score.
Children know they are doing well when the task
or project is well defined and the goals are
clearly stated. How can a child experience the
thrill of hitting the bull's eye, when he or she
doesn't know what the target is? Kids need to
see the end before they begin a task or they
will lose interest. When you are giving your
child a task, such as cleaning her room, be
specific in telling her what you want her to do
and when you want it done and stick to it. By
providing a clear and specific ending, your
child can look forward to enjoying time with her
friends when the task is completed.
Goals are the target of success! Who you see is
who you'll be. What you set is what you get.
Help your kids get the far vision, the dream.
Help them get the near look, the steps and
action plans that pave the road to their dreams.
Participate in your children's games,
problem-solving exercises, field trips and
creative projects. Instead of telling them how
things work, help them learn to discover the "hows"
- Help your children dream about their
future. Set the example by jotting down and
cutting pictures out to describe family
dreams. Assist them in defining their own
goals and writing them down on index cards.
Post the cards in their bedroom or on a
board where they can see and review their
- Help your kids prioritize their goals.
Have them consider their goals in the order
of their importance. Place beside each
written goal, a proposed target date for the
attainment of that goal.
- Help your child make plans.
Unfortunately, many kids view problems as
insurmountable mountains. Your role as
parents is to help them view problems as
opportunities. Teach them to go over,
around, under or to bore a hole right
through their roadblocks.
- Show children how to prepare a daily "to
do" list. In the evening, help prepare a
list of a few important things to do the
following day. At the end of the day, help
them review their progress. By using index
cards, you can use a file box to store daily
activity cards. Monthly, quarterly and
yearly, let them go through the cards in the
box, to see all they have accomplished
through step-by-step actions.
- Help your kids to visualize, in advance,
what the accomplishment of their goals looks
and feels like. Bedtime is an ideal setting,
where you can see in their imaginations
where they want to be, what they want to do,
and things they will have to work and save
for to get.
- Build goals and evaluations around the
school year. When you go over your child's
report card, discuss the goals that he set
for himself and how he is doing toward
achieving those goals. Share with your child
any comments teachers might have regarding
- Kids need rewards and behavior that gets
rewarded gets repeated, especially if they
understand that the reward is coming when
the goal is accomplished. Rewards do not
have to be strictly financial, but can be
going out for an ice cream or whatever your
child enjoys doing. By rewarding goal
directed behavior, you are providing
additional incentive to achieve almost any
Dr. Denis Waitley is one of the most
respected authors and keynote lecturers in the
world. His audio program The Psychology of
Winning is the all-time, best-selling program on
personal success. He has studied and counseled
leaders in every field from top executives to
astronauts, from Olympic champions to youth
groups. He is the author of 16 non-fiction books
including NY Times' best-sellers Seeds of
Greatness and Being the Best. A founding member
of the National Council on Self-Esteem and the
President's Council on Vocational Education, he
recently received the "Youth Flame Award" by the
National Council on Youth Leadership for his
contribution to teen development. As the former
chairman of psychology on the US Olympic Sports
Medicine Council, Denis is responsible for
performance enhancement of all Olympic athletes.
He is the father of six children and eleven
This article was excerpted from Dr. Denis
Waitley and Dr. Maryann Rosenthal's newest
release, The Seeds of Greatness - The
Value-based, Family Enrichment System for the
21st Century to learn more go to
http://parenting.jimrohn.com or call