Plans Not Just Dreams – Master Inspire Plan Part 8

by Mary Ann on July 27, 2010

This morning I was thinking about an experience that I had four years ago. My youngest daughter was involved with George Wythe University, going to summer programs centered on the Constitution. George Wythe is a unique place with a unique set of values. They propose to build men and women of virtue, wisdom, diplomacy and courage who inspire greatness in others and move the cause of liberty.

We are actually a George Wythe alumni family and it has been a part of my daughter’s life for many years. I graduated with a double bachelor’s degree in theology and education and a Masters degree in education. My oldest daughter graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences and a Master’s degree in education.  So Kate being involved with George Wythe was just part of being in our family.

Every two years this university takes a large group of youth to Europe to study history. This group has some youth as young as fourteen right up through college age. Parents are welcome to tag along. The program is really tremendous for learning. All those taking the trip are put into groups of youth and adults who meet together once a week in the area where they live or via the internet. They have assignments every month. There are books to read, papers to write, videos to watch, colloquia to engage in. When these youth get to Europe they know the country, its history, art, architecture and people. Going to Europe with George Wythe University takes more than a plane ticket and food money!

Our Well Educated European Travelers!

Kate’s favorite place, Barcelona

At the time that the trip came up we had sold our  home in Montana, barely getting out with the mortgage paid. The market was very poor in 2004. We had spent a couple of years reestablishing ourselves in a new state, with new jobs. Times were tougher than they had previously been. This trip to Europe for a month was going to cost almost $4500 per person. YIKES!!! That was a fortune to us. That was almost 3 months of income for our family. But we really wanted her to be able to go. She really wanted to go and I wanted to go.

So we made a plan and wrote it down. She would go. In the back of all of our minds was the thought that I would go too. We had one year to raise the money. We determined that no money would come out of the household income and no debt would be incurred. It all had to be earned extra.

I have done baking and cake decorating professionally for over 45 years. So that became our main focus to raise the money. I taught my daughter and a couple of friends who were also going to Europe how to do simple cake decorating. Then at Valentine’s they sold small cakes to their friends at school, teachers and parents. Our home looked like a small bakery for days. We sold pies at Thanksgiving. We sold gingerbread and mince meat at Christmas. We made sugar eggs for Easter. We made cookies all the time. It was a lot of work.

45 years of sharing a talent with family and friends

Well we raised the needed funds for Kate to go to Europe for one whole month. She had an amazing experience that has impacted her life in many ways. It was worth all the work and time that it took.

There are two points that I want to make with this story. First I didn’t go to Europe. I knew that Kate was going and no matter what it took she would be there. I wrote it down and made a plan. I included her in the plan. She learned a lot.

I never wrote down that I would go. I didn’t really believe that I would go and so I didn’t. If I raised the money for her I know that I could have raised the money for me.

We all have many dreams for our families. We want to take them on special trips. Give them wonderful instruments to play or classes to take or businesses to run or a Spark Station that is spectacular. These are our dreams. However, many families never see even small dreams come to pass. We all say it’s about money but it NEVER is about money. It is about a decision made with belief. What we believe, commit to paper and act upon comes to pass. It stops being a dream and becomes a plan. When we put action to the plan we can expect success. Kate’s going to Europe was a plan with attendant action. My going was a dream!

Second, parents and families really do want to spend time together. They want to travel, camp, learn things, have new experiences, and enjoy one another. For the most part I am convinced that that is true. However, for many families that is also a dream. Parents work many hours to make a living. There is PTA, church assignments, neighbors to help, friends to talk with on the phone, cleaning to do, gardens to plant and reap, children to chase after and tend to, illness, depression, the internet, movies we can’t miss and the list goes on. For many families the dreams we have for being together stay just that, dreams.

It is difficult to keep our priorities in line. There is always a fire to put out somewhere. We spend much time in the thick of thin things. Time passes, children grow up and go away and we are left with dreams unrealized and regrets. Going to Europe with my daughter would have been a wonderful  experience, a true memory maker.

So let’s examine these two points in light of our Master Inspire Plan. I know that some of you have been saying to yourselves the last week or so, “Gee, get on with it. Write about something interesting!” You have not gotten a vision of the Master Inspire Plan and how it can impact what happens in your family, how it can impact your dreams for your family, how it can impact your time together. I want you to “GET IT”.

Sometimes it is hard to write down what we dream of because it is far more painful to face a dream not realized that we have committed to paper. So we keep them in our minds as wishes and hopes. Eventually as they aren’t realized we can just let them fade away. But once they have been shared with others and put on paper we are committed. There are a multitude of self help and success books centered on this topic.

The Master Inspire Plan is a place where you and your spouse can commit to paper what your real intent is for your family. You make decisions based on at least nine areas of your life and how you want them to look for your family. We have been taking one area at a time. I wanted you to see that it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. Pick a few choice books, places to go and experiences you want and then commit to them, write them down. Decide that you are going to do them, have them and be them!

To date we have talked about six areas of focus: experiences we want our children and family to have, organizational programs that we think matter and are important, adult skills we would like our children t o have, resources we need in our home to make it happen, the cultural literacy of our family and classics we want to introduce to our children.

I have asked you to make a short list in each of these areas. It doesn’t need to be an exhaustive list, just a short list. Maybe there are five classics that you want to make sure you read to your children. Maybe there are another five or six that you want on your library shelves for them to read to themselves. Maybe you only care that they can cook, keep a clean room and run a bank account by the time they leave home. Maybe the only organizations that matter to you are church and Scouting. Maybe you would just like to take the whole family to the Grand Canyon. GREAT! Write it down. Don’t compare your Master Inspire Plan to anyone else’s. Don’t put it off because your dreams aren’t lavish and weighty. Families who do a little are heads and tails above those who never get started.

We have three areas left to look at: God, Family relationships, and places to go. I will share some things that I found very intimidating to commit to paper. I will tell how it has been going for me. So make your lists, in a file on the computer or a notebook. Refer to them weekly or monthly. Keep them in mind and then act upon them. You will experience more familial and personal success if you do.

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