A Master Inspire Plan Part 1

by Mary Ann on July 5, 2010

My friend, Diann

I’d like to share an experience that Diann Jeppson had with one of her daughters. One day, while driving home together they saw a flock of pigeons diving and wheeling in the sky. Her daughter was so taken with the sight that they stopped and watched the flight of the birds. It was as if someone was shaking confetti in the sky.

Her daughter decided that she would really like to know more about those birds and so they made the effort to find out where in their neighborhood those birds lived. They were successful

Beautiful Jenna

in their quest and spent a good deal of time talking with the owner of the pigeons. They learned all about the birds and Jenna decided that she wanted to raise some herself. (Raising birds was not on Diann’s Master Inspire Plan, by the way)

So Diann and Jenna went home and promptly began gathering materials to build a pigeon coop. They gathered some wood that had been left over from other projects, got some nails and a hammer. Then they went to work building a frame for their coop. When Diann’s husband came home he asked them what they were doing. When the answer was given he put his hand on one of the corner posts, gave a slight push and the whole structure swayed to one side. “This will blow down in the first wind storm”, he told them. He then asked to see their plan for the coop. Of course they didn’t have one.

Jena’s pigeon coop

So he took them into the house and they sat together and came up with a plan, on paper, as to how to build a sturdy and lasting coop. Then they made a trip to the local hardware store for the materials they would need. That coop stood for many years and Jenna had a wonderful time raising her pigeons.

Queen Mom and Kate

I was a good mom. I cooked meals and we ate around the table. We had prayer in our home, read scriptures, shared religious experience, had sports and fun activities together and we read. I camped, went to kids activities and had solid family traditions. I was a good cook and my children had opportunities to cook and sew, wash clothes and clean house. However, there wasn’t a plan and I have since found holes in their learning.

Traditions Matter

One time I was traveling with my sister and her three children. When we stopped at a gas station her nine year old got out and pumped the gas. I was flabbergasted! I would have never thought of such a thing. I or my husband always pumped the gas. It was an adult activity, right? When I asked her about it she told me that pumping gas was something that she wanted her children to know how to do before they had their own cars. She wanted them to learn the cost of gas, how fast it was used up and the work that went into obtaining enough money to keep a car running.

I was always sewing. I made clothes for all my children for many years. I guess I just thought that they would get it themselves by osmosis. Some of them took basic sewing in school. Most of my children didn’t learn to sew well, so on each visit home they bring me shirts and dresses and slacks that need to be hemmed or repaired in some way. In their late twenties and thirties I have to teach them how to do these simple tasks. Real planning on my part would have helped resolve this situation earlier. The creation of a Master Inspire Plan will truly help you teach your children better and more effectively and it will really facilitate your Spark Station success.

A Master Inspire Plan is like the plans Jenna needed for her pigeon coop. It is the plan that would have helped me stop up the holes in my children’s learning.

A Master Inspire Plan is different than a Family Mission statement but equally important. Most of us just fly by the seat of our pants when parenting. We have our own core values that we want to give to our children but rarely do we think through the knowledge, skills and experiences that we want them to have by the time they become adults. As a parent who has sent a goodly number of children into the world I can tell you that there are times when I say to myself, “Gee, I wish I had taught them that” or “I wish I had made sure that they really knew how to do that”.

The Master Inspire Plan comes from a fabulous series called The Leadership Education Family Builder, created by Diann Jeppson and Jodie Palmer.  The Master Inspire Plan is really one part of a whole system designed to help 1) parents identify the specific knowledge, skills, and experiences they would hope their children get before they leave their home, and 2) integrate these things into the general learning environment of their family in a way that honors the concept of Inspire not Require.  That’s why it’s called a Master INSPIRE Plan, not a master plan.

From the Leadership Education Family Builder, “As a planning tool, your Master Inspire Plan is not designed to ensure that all your children must or will do and learn everything contained in it. Its purpose is to assist you in considering the areas you wish to focus on as you engage in the work of inspiring and responding to your children. Your Master Inspire Plan is a road map to travel with through the grand adventure of educating your family . . . .”

I want to take the next few blogs and highlight the Master Inspire Plan because it will take you to the next level in the success of your Spark Station. I will begin taking you through a process of thinking about what activities  you would like them to have, places you would like them to see, skills you would like them to master, and books you hope they read before they leave your home. We will be covering nine specific areas. You may identify things in all nine areas, or not. You may even come up with additional areas of focus.

Your assignment tonight is to just begin dreaming about what your hopes would be for your children before they leave your home.

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