It really alarms me that so many families we know just exist from day to day with no goals. They ‘take each day as it comes’ and allow circumstances to dictate the direction their lives take. I appreciate that there are circumstances when we really do have to take each day as it comes but for probably 75% of our lives, we can and should plan. Who are we? What does our family want to be known for? What do we want to achieve as a family over the next 15 years? What do we want to achieve today? To be successful and purposeful we really need to plan.
Having a plan is the most productive way to approach any part of your life. Teaching kids how to make plans is imperative. Many of us make plans for particular events such as taking a vacation, getting married, preparing for exams, becoming fit or sticking to a diet, but we don’t plan for everyday things. To ‘plan’ means to map out a course of action. You can’t very well map out a course of action unless you know what you want the end result to be. You need to be clear about the end goal and the time-frame by which you want to achieve it. Creating a plan is being proactive. Just letting things happen and facing the consequences is time being reactive. I am not saying that we should not be spontaneous at times. Spontaneity is fun. We love to decide at the last minute to go somewhere or do something – as long as it doesn’t disrupt our overall plan. You can create plans that have a spontaneous element in them. When we go to Florida, we plan when to leave home and when to be back but we decide on any given day where we will go and what we will do.
EVERYDAY PLANNINGKids do not survive well in chaos. They like routine. There should be a family plan that is routine for weekdays. This includes when everyone gets up, who uses the bathroom in what order, a specific time for meals, and a chores plan. Time is a valuable thing and with planning a family can schedule in time for family fun.
WEEKEND PLANNINGSports, visits, movies, sleep-overs can all be scheduled, making sure that all members of the family have quality time with one another.
LONG TERM PLANNINGDeciding on the particular direction a family should take is probably the planning that is most lacking in our society today. To succeed in this kind of planning you first have to create your own family values. (If you are unsure of how to identify and create your own family values, contact us.) When the whole family lives within this framework, a family identity has been formulated. The end goal needs to be clearly stated so that kids can see the reason why they need to follow the plan. The end goal for parents might be that all of their children experience success, learn how to handle failure, become responsible, honest, caring and valued members of adult society. Individual goals can be set for kids as they identify their interests in sports, activities and careers. Parents goals can be set to the point when their children leave home, to then continue as a couple in later life. Goal number one may be to contribute and encourage their kids to reach their potential and meet their goals. Goal number two would be to retain enough sanity to be able to enjoy goal 3, which is to enjoy retirement together.
Teach your kids to have goals. Teach them to create plans to ensure their goals will be met. There is an enormous sense of satisfaction in looking back on your life and being able to say, “I tried many things, I failed a few, I succeeded a lot, but most importantly I fulfilled my dreams because I didn’t waste any time – I made plans”.
If you have any thoughts, suggestions or success stories on this subject we would love to hear from you though our website on www.forefrontfamilies.org or our email at email@example.com