This post was written 8 years ago, but I find that it still rings true.
Could there be such a thing as too much planning? Who hasn’t heard the quote –
He who fails to plan, plans to fail.
I love to plan. I plan to plan. Planning is one of my favorite activities. But yesterday I started thinking about all my planning in a different light.
On Tuesday I gave my older children (11 and 9) a fun and creative history project. I assigned them to make a model of a Roman villa. I’m not talking about anything fancy. We have a great assortment of cardboard from our recent gas grill purchase, so I thought they could use that. We looked at a few drawings of a Roman villa, then I brought them downstairs and showed them the cardboard. I pointed out the piece that would make a good base, and then the assortment of boxes that could be used for different rooms in the villa.
Then I let them get to work. They started laying out boxes and thinking about their project. My daughter started thinking about how to decorate the inside of the completed villa and how to use Playmobil pieces as “accessories”. Then my son said, “I think we need to sketch a plan so we’ll know what we’re building.” (I wonder where he got that from???) So he disappeared and came back a while later with a nice sketch.
Fast forward to Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon, I reminded them of the project and mentioned that I would like to see some cardboard cut and glued today. They got back to work laying out the project according to my son’s plan. They even located the scissors, tape, and glue. Then I heard my son say, “We don’t have the right boxes to use this plan. I’d better make a new plan.”
WHAT??? Will you quit all this planning and BUILD something please?
Did I just think what I think I thought? Thankfully, I did not say my thought out loud, but I was immediately struck by my thought. How often do I spend MORE TIME PLANNING than DOING?
I’m not advocating just “flying by the seat of your pants” so to speak. After all, Jesus said in Luke 14:28
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
We are building towers in a way. We pour out much of our lives into teaching our children. We absolutely need to have both long-term and short-term plans for “building” our children. We need to make sure we have a plan for teaching our children math and reading for example. We need to make sure that we’ve got the materials on hand to do our science experiment on Friday.
But I think those of us who are “planners” need to be sure that we’re not PLANNING so much that we miss out on actually DOING things with our kids. Ask yourself some questions.
- Are my plans so rigid that I can’t tolerate any deviations?
- Have I spent so much time getting my plans “perfect” that I don’t want to change them?
- Have I made so many plans that I never get around to doing them all?
Just make sure that your plans are serving a purpose and really helping you to accomplish your goals. I especially like this quote:
“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”—A.A. Milne