Could a New Direction in Education Put an End to Poverty, Crime and Violence in the U.S.?

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Most would agree that kids and teens need discipline and encouragement. Yet, far too many are growing up without direction. Without direction, a young life lacks meaning and, according to at least one expert, it is this lack of meaning that leads many kids in our society to a life of despair driven by poor grades, low self-esteem, apathy, impoverishment, and for all to many, a life of crime and violent behavior. Is there a solution?

Gary Ryan Blair, the founder of National Kids Goal Setting Week (November 7-11), believes that many of the problems our children are confronted with today -- underachievement, low self-esteem, apathy, impoverishment, and general disillusionment -- call for, and demand, solutions. "The cycle of despair so many young people find themselves in can be reversed but only if greater attention is placed on providing them with an internal compass, one that can guide them to a more promising future," he says.

"We need to teach our youth how to think about success, how to use failure as feedback rather than as an indicator of innate deficiency, and the value of social entrepreneurship. In short, we need to teach young people how to make better choices and in doing so realize their positive potentials," he continues.

Recognizing the need for leadership and focus, Blair, a well know international educator and strategic planner, has focused his attention on the promotion of National Kids Goal Setting Week which he hopes will inspire parents and teachers to provide students the encouragement and guidance they need to not only develop self-confidence, but to instill in them the belief they can make a difference in the world.

The introduction of "Goal Setting for Kids and Teens," Blair’s guide to goal setting for teacher and parents, targets kids between the ages eight and seventeen. While the program teaches parents and teachers the value of goal setting as an essential life skill, it also teaches them how to get children/students directly involved in the process -- identifying specific, personal goals and taking steps toward making them come true. In the process, adults and kids alike learn to identify the personal values, interests and talents one needs to achieve success.

According to Blair, the program is designed to celebrate what's right with the world and is intended to provide future generations with an internal compass, a skill set that allows them to understand the values of self-determination, personal leadership, self-reliance, follow through and most importantly -- success.

"Young people face many difficult and exciting choices about their futures and in these times focusing on the future can be a challenge," he says."Successful adults will tell you that goal-setting is an essential skill everyone needs to build and sustain a successful life. Yet, teaching kids the importance of goals and how to set and achieve them isn't a regular part of most school curriculums. Nor, is it a skill universally taught or modeled in the home."

Throughout the week, parents, teachers and coaches are encouraged to guide students through a mix of fun, interactive activities based on GoalsGuy concepts and tools which help them to:

1. Understand how to achieve best results.

2. Reflect on what they do best, and enjoy the most.

3. Transform obstacles into strategies.

4. Build self-confidence and self-esteem..

5. Focus on the activities that deserve the most attention -- establishing priorities.

6. Plan their short and long-term goals.

To address this pressing issue on an institutional basis, Blair recommends the following principles be seriously considered in the development of any formalized program devoted to goal setting education.

I. A career is a lifelong process of decision making and adapting to change -- goal-setting skills can and must be instilled through teaching and positive examples.

II. All children have the right and responsibility to learn goal-setting and career-planning skills to equip them for productive and purposeful work throughout life.

III. Successful goal-setting and career planning is the shared responsibility of our schools, our employers, our communities, our parents and our young people.

IV. Goal-setting and career planning integrated into the classroom empowers teachers, as well as guidance counselors, to stress the relevance of coursework to careers.

V. Employers benefit by communicating their requirements to educators so that schools can prepare students for the realities of the work world.

VI. Parents and communities, inspired by integrated community commitment, can take an active role in goal-setting and career planning by working closely with schools and industry to set priorities, provide role models, and develop programs applicable both locally and nationally.

VII. Students who willingly approach goal-setting and career planning as a lifelong process have a head start toward success in today's work environment.

Parents, teachers and administrators wanting to learn more about National Kids Goal Setting Week (November 7-11), and "Goal Setting for Kids and Teens" are encouraged to visit

Media Contact:

Todd Harris
Tel: 315-422-1777

Fax: 813-435-2022

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Gary Ryan Blair
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