10 May 2007

The Art of Planning

As I spread the joy of our latest edition of the Bruggie clan (version 7.0 - new and improved!) I have found the responses very interesting. There is the standard collection of quick phrases:
"Don't you have a television?"
"Are they all yours?"
"Two [or one] is enough for me!" ... and so on.
But the one that has gotten me thinking is the question, "Do you plan on having any more?"
My job is helping businesses integrate their computerised and manual accounting systems. This involves a lot of planning and working out the steps one must take to achieve the desired goal. After 25 years doing this kind of thing planning is sort of ingrained in how I approach most things.
In a normal plan there are a number of key steps.
1. What am I trying to achieve? What is my goal?
2. What do I need to do or gather in order to get there?
3. How do I use those assets to achieve the goal?
4. How do I know if I have success?
In the real world we know that what we start out aiming for frequently changes, but we modify our plans accordingly.
If I had the aim of buying my first car, I would look at working out how I was going to pay the purchase price and ongoing costs. Then I would act on gathering the money and investigating the appropriate car and then finally purchase one. Over the years as circumstances change I would upgrade or change the vehicle. (Now we have a 12 seater van!)
Somehow, when most people talk about family planning, they don't do any real planning at all. If one wanted a family, then that means children. Yet "family" planning is primarily about NOT having children. And if you were "planning" on a family, you would work on your lifestyle and other areas to facilitate that end.
Also, a child requires the activities of three people. The mother and father provide the material matter and then God provides the soul (or life-force) (or random chance by a blind evolutionary force - whatever). However you look at it the only decisive choice a couple may make about planning a family is to say "NO" or be open to life and hope and trust that "nature" or God will bless the couple with fertility.
So normal planning involves positive actions in order to achieve the end result, while "family planning" involves negative actions to avoid or minimise the end result. Odd.
The other bigger problem is that man is mortal and time stops for no man. The decision to delay a family is for many people the decision to have no family. Fertility reduces as the partners age.
So how do I answer the planning question?
"Do I plan to have any more children? That isn't completely in our hands. We are only part of the equation. God is the one giving us the gifts. We'll just see what comes."
So my family planning is working to provide a safe and faithful home in which to raise all the blessings we have. The actual quantity of blessings is not fully in our control so why worry about that. We believe that God won't throw anything at us that He knows we can't handle, so we pray for the strength to handle the things he does throw at us.

Note: Danielle Bean and Domenico Bettinelli have been talking about this very thing too!


Anonymous said...

Excellent post, David--love it! As for us, we also plan to rely on God for our family. : )


"Saying that there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers." - Mother Teresa

jodi said...

so nicely put.

Anonymous said...

Well said. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

So true. And we're learning to trust God with our family planning even if it means an empty house for the time being.