What Is Your Master Plan?

I don't know about you, but I am a planner.  If you know me personally, you are all too familiar with my love for a plan.  I have a strong belief that you need to have attainable goals in your life.  If you don't sit down and think them through every once in a while, you end up running in circles.

Did you know that April was Autism Awareness month?  Did you know that my oldest son is on the autism spectrum?  Do you know why I'm talking about master plans and autism in the same post?  
Special Olympics 2010
Some years ago I worked for the state as a Family Coach for the Autism Pilot Program.  The program itself was poorly designed in my opinion.  The state recognized a need for assistance among families with a child on the autism spectrum.  Oklahoma was not prepared to put their money where their mouth was and the program ended, along with the minimal assistance that was offered.  Go figure.  This is not unique to my state but it is frustrating.

During my time as a family coach I was given a peek to other families' lives.  Few were thriving, some were surviving and most were just barely making it - emotionally, financially... every aspect of their life.  The families had different levels of education (for the parents), different levels of children affected, different everything.

The one commonality for the thriving families was all about having a plan and following through with it.  They looked past just that one particular day and into their family's future.  I would argue that this aspect is definitely more important for families with children who have special needs.  But I will also argue that a successful life needs to have direction.  Period.

When working with these families, everyone had to come up with a Master Plan to obtain support through the state.  Since many of our families had young kids, we planned out what they wanted to happen in the next five years.  For some, they looked more long term into their child's adulthood.  It was up to the individuals how far ahead they wanted to look.  We looked at where they wanted to be in five years, what skills they wanted their child to have.  Then we looked at who was helping - doctors, therapists, teachers.  We called this community support.  The real interesting part to me was to then look at where you were spending your money.

Many times, money was spent on things that didn't match with the parents' actual goals.  They were working on goals set by teachers, doctors, and others who didn't feel the impact of living with the child on a daily basis nor were they looking at the big picture of growing into an adult.  There were families with teenage sons who couldn't drive.  They had no plan for Drivers' Ed nor had they started working on how to use the bus system.  They wanted their child to work, but had not thought out the need for transportation.  At this point, the family and I would write out baby steps to get to those goals and see where the gaps were.  Looking at things on paper really puts it in to perspective.

This doesn't need to be only for parents of children with autism. 

If you look at this in your life, do you see where I am headed?  It is good to take inventory on your life and see where you are headed.  It is also good to see if you are actually working towards that goal.  Are you putting your time, energy and money towards things that help you reach your goals?  Are you doing the same for your children?

Or are you just treading water, stuck in one place unable to move forward.

As I zoom towards my mid-life ages (okay, I'm already there), I still have goals for myself and for my children.  I have goals for the Doc, too, but well... he has to want those for himself.  I want my kids to choose a life that honors God and lets Him take the lead.  I want Michael to able to live independently from us when he is an adult.  I want Jacob to use his compassionate heart in a way that lifts others up.  I want the Doc to throw away the wheelbarrow that has sat in the yard for 3 years.

As for me, I want to help other parents who have children with autism.  I want to continue to study the Bible and apply what I learn in my life.  I want to parent my kids so that they will have a joyful and successful life.  And, I could be a better wife.  These are goals I am working on.  This is the focus I want my life to have.

I could get more specific for you but I won't.  Your master plan should not be so vague.

Find your focus.  Plan your achievable steps.  Reach your true goals.
Be intentional and make your life matter.
Teach your children to look ahead.

Are you ready to make a master plan?
Do your goals match your daily life?

~ Mrs. Priss

& Master Planner

For those of you in the Tulsa area, we have a great non-profit who help families with children on the spectrum.  The Autism Center of Tulsa is a great resource for anyone who needs it.  They also could use volunteers if you are available for their Ready Set Run fundraiser this Saturday the 7th at Hunter Park!  Join us!

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