Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What's The Plan At Your House?

Years ago a group of interchange designers were in a room with the purpose of planning how Interstate 35 would intersect in downtown Dallas with I 30, US 75 and the runways at DFW Airport. They were apparently smoking crack at the time and after several subsequent beers the chairman said, "OK, let's get started."

If you've ever driven through the center of Dallas you know that none of the major roads there actually meet each other.  You simply turn left, then right, then left, watching out for approaching aircraft and then get off at the next exit, finding the nearest Starbucks for a triple shot espresso. You then look for the oldest person there without piercings and ask for directions.  You might arrive at your destination the same day, but don't count on it.

Unfortunately, a lot of well-meaning spouses and parents have similar plan-less lives when it comes to their families.  Ask them and they'll say, "Oh sure, we want our home to be a Christ-centered home," or "Yes, we really desire that our kids learn to be independent and handle their money well," or "Absolutely we want to serve others together as a husband and wife." 

But if you ask them if they've made any plans to do any of those things, chances are good they have not.  The busyness of life, other priorities or just not thinking about it all get in the way.  People mean well but . . .

Jackie and I have been there and knew at one point that we needed to become intentional about some of our most important goals and actually do something to make them happen.

So here are a few tips for helping add planning to your marriage and family.  First, make a list.  Sounds so simple and it is.  Take a date night or a few free hours (you might have to PLAN those, too) and ask yourselves what it is that you believe God wants you to do in your home.  What will you look back on in ten years and be disappointed if it didn't happen?  Write it down.  Put the items in an order of importance if you can.

Second, start somewhere.  Don't leave your time together until you've agreed on at least one thing you're going to do to move you toward one goal.  If you can, plan a few other longer term goals or a time to start something else or to take a next step.  And celebrate your first steps when you take them.

Third, plan a longer "retreat" once a year or so.  Jackie and I have done this most of our 34 years of marriage.  Sometimes we can add a couple of days to a conference I have while other times we just stay local and get away to a hotel or resort nearby.  We use it as a time to just work on us in general but part of that time is for reviewing the last year and looking ahead to the next couple.

We take time to pray over our list too and ask God to give us wisdom along the way. I'm in ministry today because of one of those retreats where we asked each other the question, "What have you always wanted to do but haven't yet?"  One of my answers was, "Go to seminary."  The rest is history as they say.

The classic leadership proverb is so right . . . We don't plan to fail, we just fail to plan. 

And oh, by the way, if you're needing to go through Dallas?  I just wouldn't.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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