Of all the skills and subjects of school to learn, the most important lesson is the ability to control one’s time and schedule. My friend once blurted in the car, “My family doesn’t plan anything, but it’s not because we don’t know how, but because we don’t want to be committed if something better comes along.” His parents are divorced, so is he. It’s a problem for him and he says so more than I.
Good things come along from time to time. You can only catch them if you are ready. But, the best things in life can only be planned because they require preparation. Your children will live the type of life you do. If your family lives a free-spirited life, they will always be happy, but they will never be satisfied. They will hunger for something better, but they will always be chasing the next wave—always chasing the wind, yet never learning to soar—because the very best things in life can only be planned.
Parallel to planning is spontaneity. About half of God’s gifts come along without warning and if you reject everything that you don’t plan for, you will miss God’s best. Planning is not about locking down the future in your scheduling calendar, but about preparation. Preparation includes the unforeseen.
The secret to living effectively with planned spontaneity is think like a homing missile or a game of golf. First, know your general direction and stay on the fairway. If it’s a par 5, the second step is to get to the green. Third is the hole. But, you’ll never be able to “birdie” a hole unless you get years of regular practice. That means saying no to last minute movies and getting out of bed—or boogying after work—to the driving range.
Even the best golf courses offer rain checks, but no strong, healthy, toned body happens without exercise and diet being the priority. If the practice doesn’t get done, neither do the results; it doesn’t matter the excuse. “Flex days” smartly prepare spontaneity—the exception, not the rule. You must rule your time, otherwise others will rule you because they ruled their own time first.