A Planners Heart

As a mother I often wonder where my children will be in 5 years, or 10 years. Will they ever grow up and be able to make it on their own? Will they ever be able to survive without me. Seriously! My children want to live on their own, but life makes it so difficult to get there.

I remind them that they need a plan. Whether it’s a two-year plan or a four-year plan, they need a plan. They need to decide now, where they want to be in that time frame; where they need to be in that time frame.

From the time they were born they have always had a plan, but someone else has always been in charge of that plan. Parents make plans for their children until they are at least in school. Teachers make plans for them for the next 13 years. Every stage of their life they have someone helping them to plan the right direction to go and the right steps to take, until they get out of high school. Yes, some go on to college or trade school, but that’s a choice. That’s a plan they make for themselves, unless they have parents who strongly push them in that direction.

I think it’s time, as a parent, to let them start planning for themselves. Then again, I am a planner. I love to plan things. Whether it’s a birthday party, a school event, vacation or just a date with my husband. I like to plan things. Doesn’t everyone? Lol.

The first step is deciding where they eventually want to be. What do they want to do when they grow up, or even two years from now? Will it need college, trade school or just experience in a certain field? They can easily find this information online. What did we ever do without the internet?! Next they need to decide the time frame it will take to carry out this goal. For my children, the goal has to do with moving out. So, they are setting a time frame for accomplishing the goals necessary for being able to move out. They are planning on completing a certain phase of school before making the move so that they are able to support themselves in their new lifestyle.

As a former Family Consumer Science teacher, I have always taught my students and children to be proactive; to plan everything out in advance. They need to plan for the obvious as well as the unforseen. High school and college age young adults do not all think about the ins and outs of living on their own. They don’t think about the deposits they may need to pay to turn on utilities, or even the cost of providing for their own cell phone, internet or car insurance. Those things just happen without effort, right? Lol.

So, I have asked that they put together a list of expenses they expect to pay once they are on their own. I have also asked that they put together a list of what they plan to take with them from the house when they leave, and what other items they will need to buy. It is really an eye-opening experience for them, and possibly for a parent as well.

As a parent, are you planning to allow your children to take everything in their room when they leave? The bed, the furniture, the television and DVD player?

As a young adult have you thought about providing dishes, cookware, and appliances for your own kitchen once you move out?

There are several good resources online when you type in “child moving out”. There are checklists available to give them reason to put more thought into the idea of moving out before they take a giant leap they cannot undo. Even if they are not willing to look this up for themself (because they know-it-all already), it would be helpful to know when you are planting information in their ears. Believe it or not, they are listening and will gain some value from what you tell them.

It it also important that they follow God’s plan for their lives. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). If they are moving out-of-state or out of the area, whether for school or for a job, it is so important to instill in them the need for a new church as soon as they arrive. This can be one of the most important connections they make in setting up their future!

Planning and goal setting go hand in hand. A teacher on my campus has a sign on his door that says “the most important thing about having goals is having one.” It’s the first step without which there would never be a second or third step. Set your goals and make plans to reach them. They do not happen without planning and succeeding with those plans.


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