Useless, indispensable plans

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”  –Dwight D. Eisenhower

About this time each year, I realize that our school year is turning out completely differently than the way I’d planned it so neatly last summer.  It’s also the time I start pondering and forming vague plans for next year.  Coincidence?   Or just masochism?

I’m thrilled to find this Eisenhower quote which assures me I’m not the only one.  I need to plan each school year.  I need to research and make a schedule and chart a path.  But inevitably, during the year, we’ll discover that some plans don’t work out, and we’ll stumble upon new opportunities that I didn’t know existed.

And we turn a corner.  And another.

I didn’t plan on rifle and handgun practice, but the 4-H shooting sports class was too good an opportunity to pass up.  Not just for target practice, but for self-control and careful discipline.

I didn’t plan for my teen daughter to be a model in a fashion show, but the fundraiser for CASA (a wonderful organization helping abused children) is a worthy cause.

I did plan for her to earn college credit this year through AP and CLEP tests, but she’s failed every test, and we’ve discovered that those tests just don’t play to her strengths.  On the other hand, little brother (now 13) earned his first college credit in American History.  Surprise!

I didn’t plan to have my kids research unintended consequences of political promises, but the John Stossell essay contest offered them highly motivational prizes, and seemed to me a good way to apply both the writing and the government studies they’ve done.

We end up in places that teach my kids great things, create wonderful memories, and shape their characters toward the adults I want them to be.  They just aren’t usually the places I planned to be.

Next year’s plan includes logic, physics, and essay writing for the younger teen, and psychology and drama for the older one.  And of course, I will plan to change my plans!


2 thoughts on “Useless, indispensable plans

  1. amen…just started looking at curriculum for next year and planning out our mornings just to find out that our co-op will have to most from it’s current host spot to a new home and possibly a new day and time…

    The conference is coming up next month so that almost always brings to light new ideas!

    Thanks for posting!

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