It’s a great idea to teach our young ones about good planning. A proper plan can help make life easier in some cases. It prepares us for making smarter decisions often, but is planning everything really necessary? Is your answer different if I ask it this way: What could possibly go wrong in planning our whole lives? It’s a great idea have a good plan, but living the unplanned life is a major part of our lives as well.
Think on the things that were unplanned in your life? How did you react?
Individually you can plan all day long and generally get the outcome you desired so long as you don’t have to rely on anyone else. There are always exceptions to the rules, but for the most part one person can make a lot of things happen for themselves. When you decide to enter into a lasting relationship, your percentage of “getting what you planned” goes down considerably. All you have to do is ask the woman who was going to be married fresh out of college and have five kids before she turned 30.
I’m not a planner.
I’ll never admit to being a great planner, because it isn’t true. What I had planned for my life many would see as a wish list. Though in certain areas I was making big decisions based on those plans. In every situation I had to wait for the man I love, and now call my husband, to get to where I was. Being emotional, disappointed, and hurt, I threw my own tantrums. I just couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong (spoiler alert: I was doing nothing wrong.) I was living an unplanned life.
Even though I wasn’t planner, I know my parents tried. They did their best teaching me to make decent decisions, based off a well thought out plan. Sorry Mom and Dad… I understand a little more now at the ripe old age of 33. Now it is my turn to teach my kiddos, and I’m curious how to go about it. On one hand, planning is great, but on the other life is a creative process and often creativity cannot be planned.
Here’s the reality:
Things in our lives will go wrong. That happens in every stage. Life will look like a chaotic mess. If you can’t handle a little chaos, a little creative process, then you’ll eventually end up making yourself crazy, or at least that’s been my track record. Just know it’s okay to let things go unplanned in your life.
What’s wrong with planning?
When we go into a relationship saying, “I want to have 5 kids before I turn 30” we’re just creating a wish list. What is the exact reason? Do we plan our family size because everyone else is doing it? Yes. Why not just take it year by year? I’ve mentioned before, I’m not finished having babies, and recently someone asked me, “How many do you want to have?” My answer to a question like that is this: I don’t know. I don’t have a specific number, I just don’t feel like this part of my life is over yet. I could be completely wrong. It may not be in the cards for our family to ever add another little person into our family.
Keeping with the “number of children” analogy (though you can see how this way of thinking can fit into other areas in your life right?) couples are constantly choosing not to add another child into their family because it would be inconvenient. Some families are wishing their kid’s childhood away so they can be liberated in not having all the petty responsibilities and have more time to do what they want to do.
Some couples really want kids, but they also want to control every portion of parenthood. It isn’t just the number of children or the spacing, it’s the type of child they’ll become, the sports or musical instruments they’ll play, or even who their friends will be as they grow (I’ll assume more people can see how this is stifling the creative process than how planning the number of children could). Planning can be good, but we have to be open to what God has in store for us.
Put it into perspective.
When I talk to my husband about wanting more children, I have to remind him his mom is #5 in her family, and my dad is #7 in his. Neither of us would be here if their parents weren’t open to God’s process.
How to we plan for the unplanned life?
So how can we teach our kids to make plans for themselves while also being open to the creative process? How can we teach them to be patient and calm as life doesn’t go according to plan? Can we see the “teachable” moments while the toddler drops to the floor to tantrum? or do we throw a tantrum ourselves because this part of our life is so inconvenient? What are your thoughts?
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