Looking Ahead

I’m beginning to realize how easy it is to get stuck in the present. Our family goes about each day in our own typical fashion. I expect things from Eddie that I know he can do, but I forget about the things I want him to learn. Some behaviors, and poorly learned habits, are overlooked because it has become what others have called our “new normal.”

I don’t even realize some of the areas he needs greater skills, because I easily accept him for who he is today. I forget to look ahead to tomorrow and where I want him to be. When I forget about tomorrow, I simply let Eddie “off the hook” and don’t show him that my expectations for him are high.

At school, during the IEP meetings, we talk about goals for hours. We disagree and agree with teachers, we discuss our own goals, and we work as a team to come up with the best measures of our kids’ progress. Unfortunately, at home, we are the only ones to set goals. We don’t get to collaborate with educators, and we have to set them based on what we can achieve and fit into our daily lives.

When Eddie was an infant, I often made lists of goals and called it “Eddie Boot Camp.” I envisioned I’d spend weeks in the summer teaching him countless self-help skills and that he’d have so much of my attention he’d get sick of me. I set hundreds of goals…became overwhelmed by the list…and then quickly forgot about it due to mental overload.

When Eddie got a little older, I realized that I had to pick one main goal and stick with it until he successfully achieved it. For example, eating with utensils was one goal; which we worked on for months. Eddie now can do it, but we still have to reinforce it daily. However, by seeing his growth, I was comfortable moving onto the next area.

This summer, I want to push Eddie to work on a lot of his pre-braille goals. I feel if I put in a lot of work, it will pay off greatly in the fall. I had many different activities and goals in mind (and a lot of work for me), and a very smart friend gave me some great advice. She reminded me that I can work on goals, but that I can find fun ways to do it for Eddie and me. She also made me feel like I didn’t have to kill myself, and that I didn’t have to feel guilty if we also just spent time enjoying summer.

I simply need to remind myself to look ahead and not get used to where Eddie is today. If I expect Eddie to remain his 8-year-old self, I’m not giving him enough credit. I hope to think about his “tomorrow” every day, and continually set goals (even small ones) to keep him learning and growing.

I’m wondering if any of you ever find yourselves forgetting about the future. Or refusing to think about it? Do you have any goals (immediate or long-term) that you focus on? If so, please share! I’d love to know that other parents do a better job of looking ahead than I do…and your ideas will likely inspire me, and possibly others.