top of page

Teaching Your Grandchildren the Importance of Setting Goals and Remaining Resilient

Teaching your grandchildren the importance of setting goals and remaining resilient is a gift we can give that will serve them for the entirety of their lives. Everyone experiences the ups, downs, struggles, and triumphs of life. Learning how to look ahead, plan for the future, and bounce back from unexpected turns in plans is a must, not an option. Without such skills, our youth become prey to fear, emotional turmoil, and maybe even defeat.

Grandparents and grandchild working in the garden and demonstrating resilience in their behavior.

Goal setting helps us plan our days.

Lack of purpose brings on sadness, boredom, and sometimes, depression. Short-term goals can be as simple as a daily to-do list. Let’s start there. As we work with our grandchildren, we can share tools and thoughts on how to plan days past graduation. While many young people are dreaming of big things on days leading up to high school or college graduation, it’s incredible how the shock of the day after can hit.

Now what? What’s the next step? What should I do with myself now that I have crossed this hurdle?

I had one of those moments the day after I found out I had passed my bar exam after law school. I had goals all along the way through my education.

Get through college.

Get into law school.

Get through each semester and set of exams.

Study for the bar.

Take the test.

Wait for the results.

Then, suddenly. I had crossed the last hurdle to starting my career.

Those moments of feeling overwhelmingly unprepared to practice law created a searing memory. What was the solution to the panic?

One day at a time. Set some goals. Accomplish what I could each day based on those goals.

Goals, especially life goals, are often born in our values.

Encourage discussions with your graduating grands based on family values and goal setting. How does your family view education, work, and career? Do you favor traditional career paths or are you entrepreneurial? Is there a family business that opens the doors for opportunity? What interests and possible interests does your grand have that can be turned into short-term goals like finding someone to shadow in particular job areas?

What about disappointments along the journey?

Talk to your grands openly about the realities of early adulting. It’s not easy for most of us. We’re learning new life skills, navigating treacherous social pressures, and trying to discover who we will be as adults. We all make mistakes. We all have disappointments. Share this with your grands and prepare them. Not in a cynical, disillusioning way. Just truth with some strategies for overcoming.

Strategies for overcoming disappointments lead to resilience. Resilience is the ability to pick up after a blow and keep moving forward with intention and courage. Some strategies you might share are listed below.


For some people writing through their life experiences creates a log of happenings that can be encouraging during difficulties. Encourage your grandchild to keep the stories of their life in a journal and pay special attention to the triumphs. They add up over time. In times of trouble, looking back to moments of success gives us the resilience and strength to carry on.

Confidantes or mentors:

Encourage your grands to find trusted adults like yourself who can be sounding boards during stressful or trying times.

Inspirational quotes from noted historical figures:

While this may sound trivial, it is amazing how reading the words of those who have gone before us can inspire and lift our spirits. Consider Scriptural references, leaders during times of war, great novelists, or other artists. Look for overcomers and seek their recorded words. Wisdom comes from life experiences and some people are gifted to share that wisdom through words that will inspire for generations.

Family home base:

This strategy is at the core of GPAZ. Always, always, always provide a haven for your grandchildren to come to for advice, comfort, and encouragement. Let your grandchildren know you will be cheering them on through everything. Then stand by them during the hard times. Don’t be the, “I told you so,” voice in their life. Be the personification of, “You will get through this. How can I help?” Remember, help isn’t always bailing someone out of trouble. It’s also talking them through options, drawing out through conversation the decisions they may already know they need to make, and shoulders to cry on when needed.

Our grandchildren are precious. We can prepare them for life by teaching skills such as goal setting as well as the needed fortitude to be resilient and strong to overcome the challenges all adults face.


bottom of page