It has been eight years since I took college classes but I am more mature now and I know what I want and where I am going academically and intellectually. Learning is a positive thing, and of course all intelligent and socially conscious adults are learning every day; but when the learning is concentrated through classroom lectures, research, independent study and test-taking, it is almost overwhelming for those who are not prepared. I am prepared, and I stand at the starting line ready to dash into my new learning experience with enthusiasm.
COLLEGE DIPLOMA GOALS AND ACTION PLAN: I plan to begin taking college courses this fall (2006) at the earliest, and this January (2007) at the latest. My goal is to be working full time (or, a minimum of 30 hours per week) while I am taking 12 units in college. I have an action plan - to begin within the next three months - and I intend to have my undergraduate degree by the spring of 2009. I know I can meet that action plan if I work hard, study at every opportunity, and stick to my commitment. I also know that until the final months of her first pregnancy, my wife needs to be working to help our family, and that I need to also take the time to spend with her even though I will be busy with school and with work.
PARENTING: Young people, especially those in their teenage years, need strong leadership and guidance. The temptations that are out there for teens today are very powerful, and when the family unit is not strong, a teen's peer group can easily fill in the gap where the family failed. Peer group pressure can lead children into drug abuse, alcohol abuse, dangerous sexual activities and crime (gangs, etc.). But there are more dangers out there than just gangs and drugs and sex; many children today are hooked on electronic games (Nintendo; X-Boxes), on text messaging, Instant Messaging, violent and sex-themed videos and DVDs, cell phone conversations, and TV and Internet entertainment. I will help to build strong family bonds and do things with my children that are fun and educational, too. I want to take my family camping, fishing, and hiking in the great outdoors; there are many beautiful National Parks and state campsites to visit, and I believe it is the duty of all parents to teach children about the importance of protecting the wilderness and the animals that live in the natural world. Environmental education is perhaps just as important today as learning history and languages.
PARENTING GOALS AND ACTION PLAN: My wife and I know that you don't have to take a class or pass a test to be parents; we also know, there are many wonderful books, both spiritually-themed and psychologically-themed books, that help new parents establish the values and routines that will ensure that our children have a solid understanding of what a good citizen must do to become a worthy, contributing member of society. Our action plan is to have read (together, taking turns reading one chapter out loud each night) two of the best parenting books within the next three months; by the end of October, 2006, we will have read three books together, and discussed them thoroughly, and hand-written key components from each book.
CHARITY CONTRIBUTIONS: I want to become more of a contributor to worthy causes that help the sick and give hope to the less fortunate. One of the important reasons for getting my college degree and finding a well-paying job is so that, besides giving my family a comfortable home and enough healthy food to eat, I want to be able to make substantial contributions to help find a cure for AIDS.
GOALS AND ACTION PLAN FOR CHARITY CONTRIBUTIONS: Even before I finish college and find a good position with a fine company, I intend to begin setting aside $6 a week (beginning in September, 2006) so that I may make a donation of at least $24 a month (or around $250 a year). So, my goal is to begin making $250 donation per year to AIDS research by September, 2007.