Goals for the Future
To help youths look at their lives with broader perspective and establish goals for the future.
Adolescents in grades 7-8 are very concerned with the present. Youths who use or sell drugs usually are seeking temporary thrills, escape from problems, acceptance from peers, or fast money-all of which are of more immediate importance than their future and the harmful consequences of drugs.
Draw a time line on the board and have students copy it on a piece of paper. Label the left terminus Birth and the right terminus The Future, ending in an arrow. Divide the time line into segments according to stages of life (examples: Infancy, Early Childhood, Childhood, Pre-adolescence, Adolescence, Young Adulthood, Adulthood, Middle Age, Old Age).
Explain that each person's life is like history itself: filled with mundane daily happenings that are sparked by extraordinary events that change the course of life. Examples of such events: learning to walk and talk, entering school, learning to read, winning a competition, learning a sport, graduating from high school, getting a good job, having a family, and so on.
Ask students to note on their time lines important events that have occurred in their lives. Then ask them to fill in the rest of the time line with specific goals they would like to accomplish. Invite a few students to put their time lines on the board.
Discuss a few of the time lines and the efforts involved in reaching some of the goals students have identified. Point out the value of looking at life as a continuum, with accomplishments creating the foundation for future accomplishments. Discuss the following:
• Why is it a good idea to outline life goals?
• What does it take to make goals and dreams become reality?
• What effect would using or selling drugs have on your ability to reach your goals and dreams?
• What can you do this week (month, year) to help you reach your goals?
• Discuss how our nation's leaders have affected history. Example: The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement. Suggestion: Read and discuss King's "I have a dream" speech, and discuss how it relates to setting goals for the future.
Learning to Live Drug-Free, A Curriculum Model for Prevention, U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program