Why I created a Vision Statement for my Child with Special Needs
I’m a sales guy, a commercial real estate broker in the Detroit market, which means I do a lot of prospecting and spend a lot of time working on my business planning. Every year I spend the few weeks before the New Years focusing on what goals and aspirations I have for the coming year. These are goals relevant to business, family, health and other aspects of my life.
This year in December I had a few extra days to do my business planning, and I really took advantage of it. One conversation I had with my 5-year-old daughter, Na’amah, was about her own goal setting. She is ridiculously smart, she’s beautiful, and she’s funny. I like to call her my Hat-trick .
We were talking about what she wants to do when she grows up, and while she was contemplating her answer, I told her “You can be anything you set your mind to, but your options are 1) President of the United States 2) an astronaut or 3) a brain surgeon–anything less would be a waste of your talents.”
The Vision Statement
I also had a conversation with my wife about my younger daughter Ellah, who is 4 and has a rare brain disorder called Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. You can read more about ACC here. We were talking about our hopes for her as she gets older based on what we had learned at the end of the NODCC conference last summer. Together we came up with a vision statement for Ellah that we now work hard to deliver for Ellah:
We work to ensure that Ellah has every opportunity to learn and grow, so that she can have good communication skills with the people around her, meaningful relationships with people in her life, and feel satisfied in her life.
Occasionally I feel ridiculous having that mantra, it sometimes feels “too foofy” for a “guy like me” but I think about Napoleon Hill, and his book Think and Grow Rich. His own son was deaf, and through his intentions he was able to attract the people into his life who could help his son hear. That’s really all I want for Ellah. Just to give her every opportunity to have good communication skills, meaningful relationships, and feel fulfilled.
A Vision For Our Family
At some point during my goal setting process this year, I realized that while money is important, and business success is important, and the health goals and the hobbies are all important things, they shouldn’t be the main focus of my attention. No, the vision that we have for Ellah is not only important for her, but for all of us. In the end, I don’t care if Na’amah is not a brain surgeon or an Astronaut, like Ellah, most important to me is that she has good communication skills, meaningful relationships, and is feeling fulfilled in her life. In trying to support Ellah, we realized that our vision for her should be what we envision for ourselves as a family. Thanks, Ellah, for teaching me an important life lesson!