Facing a New School Year with Intention, Goals, Attitude

By: Sandy Churchill

In the wee hours of morning, I found myself listening to a delightful podcast called Rise Together, hosted by Rachel and Dave Hollis. (Rachel’s books, Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing are fantastic inspiration to tackle your stuff and get going in this world.) The topic was all about tackling the new school year with intentionality. Such a trendy and comforting word—like mindfulness means business…STEAM July 2019 for Friday hovercraft Tim with kids.jpg

My 14 year-old is entering freshman year, which sounds more grown up than ninth grade, and he is continuing to tackle some college courses as part of his schedule. As a homeschooler, he is blessed to take co-op classes with other students as well as pursue his studies with home-based and online curriculum. He is an intentional student, for sure. He embraces learning in a rare and genuine way, and rarely needs to be nagged to do anything.

Timmy karate super focus blue belt.JPGThis fall poses some special opportunities for him. He is pursuing the final month of karate boot camp training for his black belt. Extra hours are spent training, practicing combo moves, improving his mile run time, and doing countless sit-ups, squats, push-ups, and drills. He is up for Life rank in Boy Scouts, the last rank before Eagle, and there are myriad merit badges to complete, trips to plan, leadership opportunities to assist younger scouts. Piano will return, ushering in hours to practice each week and tackle new music challenges. He plans to continue taking CCD classes and his volunteer work as an altar server at our church. So he is no slouch when it comes to handling a lot on his weekly syllabus and responsibility list.

So where does intentionality come in? Perhaps time management can always be honed and adjusted. Using a weekly planner will continue to help in this area. But what else? For my son, it might be intentionally logging in “down” time to spend more time outdoors without worrying about a class or a schedule. Planning ahead for time with friends and fun time to make sure life doesn’t get overly scheduled or stressful. And perhaps some other goals we have yet to talk about.

Tim zipline pic for Christmas card

The key is having intention to the pace and focus for the fall, and the academic year as a whole. For me, intentionality will revolve around perseverance, commitment and trust. These will address my novel writing deadlines as well as my determination to tackle blood sugar A1C as well as regular exercise. The theme is the same—it’s just the application area that varies. For my son, he has a lot of projects, classes, and interests to juggle, but also needs time to relax, pleasure-read, and hang out with friends and family. I am not sure what other goals he has personally for the coming academic year—but he is a big one for establishing his weekly syllabus on his Boogie Board, a glorified paper-saving tech device similar to an Etch-a-Sketch.

This strategy of establishing intentionality works for adults, too. What are your intentions for the new season? Perhaps take a few moments to grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and make a list of your own goals for the coming year—or the fall, if it helps to embrace just a few months at a time.


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