06 December 2013

Goal Setting--First Winning Blog Post

Welcome Back. On 18 October, I announced the blog’s second contest--write about a goal that you, someone close to you or your pet accomplished or failed to accomplish. Thank you to all who participated and to the six judges whose count made it a tie: Josefina Wopatova and Jay P. share the spotlight.

You might remember that Josefina was the winner of the blog’s first contest and Jay was the runner up. When you read their essays, you’ll see why they were chosen as repeat winners. Today’s post is Jay’s essay, next Tuesday’s post will feature Josefina’s.

One Old Goal

Author’s 5th grade school, now
converted to condominiums.

My first recollection of my goal-setting behavior is from about the fifth grade. Although my time in fifth grade dates back to just past the mid-1900s, I wasn’t in a one room school house but rather one with four rooms. It was sort of a cubicle of a building. Because there were eight grades, two were conducted simultaneously in each classroom. While this arrangement might alarm modern pedagogs, teachers’ union reps or trendy parents, it wasn’t a horrible learning environment. Each year students received either a preparation for what was to come or a review of material that may have been unclear the previous year. And although I didn’t learn what a study hall was until I got to high school, when there’s one teacher for two grades, about half of one’s school day is supposed to be devoted to individual study.

This affected my goal setting because there happened to be sufficient time for individual daydreaming as well as study. My father transferred his interest in automobiles to me by the time I was halfway through K - 8. I remember much of my study time being devoted to contemplating things automotive, both domestic and the then rare foreign models. I distinctly recall those exotic Mercedes sports cars and thinking they had to be the best because they were way more expensive than Corvettes and Thunderbirds. So sitting one day drawing one in my own little study world, I determined that a measure of success in life would to be able to afford any car I wanted. It might not be a Mercedes when the time came, but it could be. It wouldn’t matter because I set my sights on being able to buy the one I wanted. 

Volvo P1800 (photo from

This goal remained with me a long time. Upon high school graduation I had saved enough money to buy myself a nice car. Ironically, the choices were narrowed to two used sports cars, a Mercedes SL 280 and a Volvo 1800, or a brand new Jeep. I was a practical Wisconsinite and opted to pay $2800 for the Jeep with four wheel drive. It turned out to be the only new car as well as the most troublesome vehicle I’ve ever owned. Still, I didn’t think I had reached my goal because I couldn’t afford the new models of the sports cars. 
1970 Jeep (photo by Marc Lesko,

Then, in the somewhat more recent past I was working at my career in a police department. I walked through a hallway in which hung framed photos of our officers in action or training. Amid these manly and womanly police people with their weapons, vehicles and dogs was a curious new addition. A framed quote that read: One hundred years from now it won’t matter what sort of house I lived in or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child. It made an impression and I reevaluated an old goal.

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