June 29, 2013

Joyful Mom Monday - Plan Long Term

Counting God's Little Blessings
Happy Monday, All!  I'm writing this on Saturday because I will be away all day Monday having a day to myself - getting my hair done, having a pedicure, lunching with my friend and making some time to renew myself and my vision for my family and I.  There is nothing that brings me as much joy as watching our family reach the goals we have made for ourselves.  I had never thought of doing this until 3 or 4 years ago when our Ladies' Bible Study was doing a study on contentment.  The book encouraged us to write out a short description of what we wanted our lives to be as Christian women.  Doing this for myself caused me to really think about and prioritize what I wanted to be most important in my life.  Of all the things in my life, what do I most want to accomplish?  What do I want my entire life to be focused around?

As I have grown in my Christian walk and in my walk as a wife and mom, I have begun to use this idea of a life plan in many areas.  It has helped me to stay focused on the important things, and when I become overwhelmed, I go to these plans to get my priorities back in order.  Here are some ways that I use and apply this idea of long term planning.

Personal Plan - I have written out (in just a few sentences) what I want to focus on and become as I grow as a Christian, a wife and a mom.  Most of these are spiritual goals and came from the descriptions the Bible gives of a wise or older woman.  Each year (usually August or September), I sit down and make out a yearly personal plan.  This is much more specific and involves certain character traits that I need to work on, habits that I need to make or break, physical fitness goals, even fun things that I would like to try or do that year.  This plan is more subject to be changed or tweaked as the year goes on, but I do try to stick to it and accomplish the things I have written down.

Family Plan - The Mr. and I have written out what we want to focus on as a family.  We began with a very long term plan that pictures what we want our family to become.  We think of it as our End of the Journey Goal.  As we wrote it, we pictured what we wanted our family to be 15 years from then.  Again, much of this is a spiritual aspect given from Biblical descriptions.    Each year (usually in March for some odd reason), the Mr. and I have a getaway, and we plan our yearly goals for our family.  This would include more specific goals such as ministries we would like to do as a family, fun plans, discipline strategies and the Bible studies we would like to have as a family.  The Mr. and I also include things we would like to work on or do as a couple. (Side note: my experience and the experience of other women I know is that usually we wives may have to get the ball rolling in making a family plan, but I have found that once we get away from the busyness of life, the Mr. is ready to plan with me.  It really does become a wonderful time of planning and unifying.)

Individual Child Plan - This is something I usually do by myself, although when I am done, I talk it over with the Mr., and he will add his thoughts.  Each year, again in August or September, I focus on each child.  I make a list of their character strengths and weaknesses.  I list out strategies that I can use to help strengthen them in these areas.  I make a list of things that I am thankful for each child for as well as ways they bring joy to my heart.  I also write down a few things that I would like to do with them that year one on one and even a few things that I would like the Mr. to do with them.

Homeschool Plan - In August, I make out a very general homeschool plan.  This would include Bible focus, field trips, specific books to read, habits in schooling that we need to work on, etc.  Even if you are not a homeschooling mom, I would encourage you to make out a  plan like this for your kiddos.  As a mom, it is your responsibility and privilege to help your child strengthen areas that he/she may need more individual help in.  Also, just the ideas of encouraging learning at all times - not just in the classroom - and teaching your children that learning is fun are important and will carry your children far past their 12 years of formal schooling.

Whew!  That's a ton of planning that takes conscious effort and quite a block of time, but it is so worth it!  I am a list person, and I find it encouraging to look at these plans every now and then and see how far we've come.  We have to be careful not to let the list, plans, goals run over our lives, but they can be a wonderful tool in helping us bring about the family we dream of  - the family that will bring us joy not only when we "finally" reach the end of the journey but throughout the entire journey!  Intentional parenting brings unbelievable joy and rewards!

 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
~Proverbs 14:1

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

I am still experimenting with computer technology.  I tried to upload these documents so that you could print them off to use, but it keeps giving me a strange message.  This is what I made to use for my long term planning.  If you would like me to email them to you, let me know!  I have a child plan and a homeschool plan as well.

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