Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Five Tips for Creating a Five Year Family Plan

I have a confession.  There is a blog that I read religiously called Simple Mom.  I don't read it because of some secret desire to get in touch with my feminine side (if you even suggest it I'll punch you in the face right now).  I read it because it's content is incredibly good, even though I'm certainly outside of author, Tsh Oxenreider's, target market.  Listen to me when I say, "get your family in touch with her work now"!  She also has a book out called Organized Simplicity.

Today, Oxenreider published a blog entry called "I Wrote A Five Year Plan (and you can too)".  You can read it yourself, but she encourages her readers to create a five year plan for their family.  During my vocational ministry years, I was involved in a great deal of long range planning, so I thought I might be able to add a short list of helpful thoughts.

1.  Take your time.  It is really tempting to try to get this done in order to check it off the list.  You can't rush this.  If you do, you will just be scribbling things out two weeks into the five years.

2.  Pray about it.  God's probably not going to send an angel to tell you face to face what you should do.  It could happen, but it's not likely - statistically I mean.  You are going to have to seek God's voice (more to come on this tomorrow).  If you are a Christian, I would pray that the Holy Spirit will guide your decision making, keeping it in tune with God's plan for your life.

3.  Involve lots of people.  Proverbs 15:22 says, "Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed"(NASB).  Before you commit to anything, talk to people who are older and know you really well.  For my wife and I, we run pretty much everything by my parents to get their take.  It's not because I still submit to the authority of my 'rents.  It's because I respect them and their wisdom.  

Also make sure to involve everyone in the family.  Show your kids how to do this, so that they can make good decisions for themselves.

4.  Once you decide what and where you want to be to be at the end of the five years, work backwards year by year.  What will it take to get there?  This part is pretty easy once you have peace about the end result.

5.  Sometimes things don't work out as planned.  Check that.  Almost nothing works out as planned.  If something gets a little off, just adjust and move on.  When things get seriously derailed, it usually involves some kind of emotional set back as well.  Just stop for as long as it takes to regroup and regenerate, but don't lose sight of God.  Sometimes he will push us into periods of rest so that we can get ready for what is to come.

Do you have any tips for those making five year plans?  Share them below.

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