Creating a Family Plan

Many of us are familiar with business plans, yet we usually don’t think of our family goals as a plan. As the saying goes, without a plan, we won’t get anywhere. The purpose of a family plan is not only to illustrate where you’d like to go, and what the ultimate end looks like, but also to involve the cooperation and success of each member.

The most overwhelming, worrisome, and rewarding aspect of family life is the children. So let’s start there. What are the values that you want to make sure are instilled in your children? They may vary from family to family and are often based on both positive and negative experiences of the parents. We also need to take into consideration the personality and passions of the individual children. Generosity, for example, may be a value that you would like your child to have as an adult. Some children are naturally generous; in fact, they may give too much away while other children are not likely to give anything. What activities might be appropriate to instill the balance for the first child and the benefits of generosity for the second child? Parents can identify the values they may need in life based on a child’s interest and needs.

Another example may be the desire to see your children healthy. In order to turn children into healthy adults, the family will need to help provide the understanding that health is in their hands and that they need not be victims to disease. How can this be illustrated as they travel through childhood? Will they need to see both sides of illness? What skill sets and resources will they need?

Every good plan should include a one-line description of what the family’s purpose is and how they will recognize their success. The purpose may be the same every year or may become specific for the year. It may be the year to establish order, the year of systems, or the year of elimination. Another possibility may be the year of adventure if life is getting dull. Knowing why you will succeed and writing down the attributes helps fuel success.

A family plan is fluid, changing with the development of our children, our needs, and the curveballs life throws at us. Holidays are a great time to have a few family meetings to evaluate direction and accomplishments. It is a tool to help us get where we want to be.

Retirement and couples’ goals should be included and are a great way to illustrate goals to success to growing minds. We would love to see the plans and tips you come up with

Sample Family Plan

Value How to get there In Practice
Safety Provide a safe environment for all. Examine the environment and identify what makes individuals safe.
Generosity Experience those without Volunteer to serve holiday dinner at a shelter
Sense of empowerment Develop skills Teach them to cook. Plant a garden. Find things that nourish them like music or travel.
Tradition Establish family traditions. Tree trimming together, family sing song. Sunday outings together.
Stress busters Be active/ Find hobbies Sports and hobbies
Good health Teach that health is a choice – you don’t need to be a victim Empower with nutrition information; talk about what the body needs.
Balance Resources Teach a sense of value as part of a community. Incorporate the elderly into the sense of family. Visit the less fortunate. Show children how the community helps sustain them, the value of all members.

A simple plan like this may work to focus your activities until a new way forward is needed.