Teach your children how to plan

What you need to know:

  • The New Year is here and we all have life dreams or things we intend to achieve

We traveled back from the village after the Christmas festival and reached home at around 9pm. We were all tired and our children went to sleep immediately after showering. After 30 minutes, I checked in the boys’ bedroom and I found our eight- year old still awake. “David, what are you still doing yet you refused to eat supper and said that you wanted to sleep?” I was impressed by his response. “Dad, I am working on my new year’s plan before I sleep.” We encouraged the rest to make their New Year resolutions and write a 10 point plan. Some of their plans were not very clear or achievable but we guided them.

The New Year is here and we all have life dreams or things we intend to achieve. Usually, it is the adults who plan on behalf of their families. Sometimes, children are not involved in these plans yet they are the target beneficiaries. Sometimes we think their views may not be important or they are still too young to plan. Some of the plans for our six-year-old girl are; working hard and reading her books and Bible, helping the needy. We asked her how she intends to achieve her plans and she was very clear.
We all have plans in our minds but as it is said, one major weakness of the brain is to forget. Plans have to be written down for future reference and can be a reminder. But when you keep them in your head, you may hardly remember everything at a later stage. Therefore, ask your family members to plan and present their plans in a written format. 

Some plans may not be specific and realistic to be achieved in a period one is planning for. It is better the plans are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound). They should be clear to all, easy to understand, implement and achieve. Help them therefore to make good plans that are very achievable this year with tangible results.

At the start of the year, some couples like to have a retreat to plan for their families or businesses. We do all this in the name of planning for our children/families. These people are never involved in the whole planning process. They are not even consulted. Your children are old enough to tell you how they also desire their family to be, their personal dreams, and the businesses they prefer, and they too have new ideas they can add to the family’s bigger picture. Please don’t take them for granted and neglect them if they are the primary beneficiaries.

All plans always come with activities and required resources to implement them successfully. This calls for the budgeting of such activities. You cannot plan to build a house without knowing the resources you will need. Budgeting will help you not spend outside your means and plans except where adjustments are inevitable.

Big dreams motivate your children to work hard and plan well for their future. Ask them what they intend to do in the future, how will they achieve their dreams, what resources they need/have, which people can help them reach their goals, etc. It doesn’t cause harm to have children with bigger visions. Again, your guidance in ensuring that your child has realistic dreams comes in handy.
They may have many plans for their life or for this year which is very okay. But of the many, let them prioritize first things first. Ask them to rank their plans according to what is more important and what they desire to start with or where a lot of concentration is needed. Keep them accountable!

As you teach your children to plan, teach them also to develop their personal core values, vision and mission. Life without a vision is like life without hope and a future or a journey without a destination. A child with a clear vision and mission sets good goals for the future and works hard to secure them. Personal values serve as personal guiding principles to our actions and decisions. As a foundation is to a lasting house, core values are instrumental in our decisions, actions, and shaping our behaviors. 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Whatever plans we make, it’s God who fulfills them (Proverbs 16:3, 9, Psalm 37:5). Unless the Lord builds the city, the builders labor in vain (Psalm 127:1). Therefore, put God first in everything you do, He will also do it for you.
Dickson Tumuramye,    

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