Saturday, July 23, 2011

Planning Ahead

Some people are natural born planners. They prefer to have everything planned out months in advance. Last minute changes drive them crazy. I have a few people like that in my circle of friends.

Some people plan ahead for certain things, but are also open to spur of the moment changes to those plans. Probably the majority of us fall in this category.

Then there are the people who like to fly by the seat of their pants. They are natural born adventurers and turn life into a great adventure for everyone around them. My husband happens to be one of those. Since he rarely plans ahead (notice I didn't say never) the story I'm going to tell may seem quite out of character. But it's because of his "character" that I am anxious to share it.

Every school has its bullies and the junior high school my husband attended was no exception. One day the class bullies cornered him in the restroom. He certainly had not planned out this scene in his head and did not know ahead of time what he would do if confronted by the bullies. But motivated by a higher desire to do what was right and stand against them he did what he did. These particular bullies had planned out what they were going to do and they were united in their purpose. They were determined to bring my husband down to their level that day.

They backed him into a corner, crammed a cigarette into his hand and said, "You’re gonna smoke this, or else!"

The young man who is now my husband held that cigarette for a moment and then pulverized it into the commode saying, "No I’m not!" He then shoved his way through the group of bullies and left the restroom.

I have a feeling that their reaction was one of shock and disbelief as they stared at my husband's back and watched him grow another inch in character. And in case you're wondering, they never bothered him again.

Planning ahead - although it may not involve absolute specifics, if we want to maintain our integrity and act according to the principles we have chosen for ourselves, there must be some planning ahead. We must know where our personal limits are and how we plan to uphold them.

For me, long before I started dating, I already had determined my limits and absolutely nothing was going to make me change them. I had planned ahead, not necessarily HOW I was going to enforce the limits, but knowing where my limits were.

I know my son John had that same kind of mentality. He had often heard his dad's story of the bullies in the restroom and each time he heard it I'm sure it reinforced his determination to be a man of integrity himself.

Have you planned ahead in a similar way? Would you mind sharing your experiences?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Planning for Generations

My mind took off in overdrive today as I was listening to a mentoring/coaching call. What I was hearing made me sit up and take notice. The basic question in my mind was, "Do I have short term thinking or long term thinking?" I had heard the concept before but never in quite this way. But that's always the case, isn't it? What we hear and how we hear it depends on all of the other circumstances taking place in our lives at any particular time. This time it hit me hard especially as I've been dealing with challenges of teaching and training or at least helping my daughter teach and train her son. I'm beginning to see attitudes and behavior that if not nipped in the bud now, will produce fruit we don't want in the future.

So I admit it, many times I suffer from short term thinking. I concentrate on the simple task of getting through the day with my sanity intact or getting past the next bill that is due. But concentrating on the immediate can and does often sacrifice the future.

No more! I am now determined to make a conscious effort at planning not only for my grandson's future, but the future of his children and his childrens' children. I need a 100 year plan that will positively impact generations beginning with this one.

One way I can do that is to get the story of our lifetime in missions written. My daughter mentioned just the other day that she was going to be extremely disappointed if my husband and I didn't get all of our "stories" down on paper while we still remembered them. So that is a way to get started. Both of us read all kinds of missionary stories when we were young and they all impacted us and gave us direction for our lives. How we would love to have that kind of an impact on many others!

Do you plan for the long haul? If so, do you have any practical ways of implementing long term planning and thinking? If you do, please share. I'd appreciate it and I have a feeling my other readers would, too.