Chinese Church Voices

Making Plans for 2021—for Your Family

Chinese Church Voices is a weekly column of the ChinaSource Blog providing translations of original writing by Christians in China. The views represented are entirely those of the original author; inclusion in Chinese Church Voices does not imply or equal an endorsement by ChinaSource.


It is hard to believe, but this year is almost behind us. In China (as in most parts of the world), many people are ready to put 2020 behind them. This article from Roots Education encourages families to begin planning for 2021.

Even with the Pandemic, It’s Time for You to Plan for 2021!

Editor’s note: In the last few days, several places have raised their [coronavirus] risk levels. It is deeply worrisome when the pandemic encounters the flu season. Don’t worry, life will go on. As 2020 draws to a close, it is time to start planning for 2021.

Professionals are currently planning for next year.

Let me remind you: While you are thinking about work, have you ever taken a moment of quiet reflection to create an annual plan for your family?

Why Should We Make an Annual Family Plan?

1. We need to put work and family in the right order.

In a high-paced modern society, men must face great challenges.

Every man wants to excel in his career, be happy in his family, and maintain his body and energy like a 25-year-old forever.

For many people, this is a good wish, but hardly realistic.

A popular saying goes that with success comes sacrifice. For many fathers, the first sacrifice is often their own health, because they are always willing to risk it all. There are also those who put their families aside because of their career priorities.

There are often TV interviews that are classic examples of “heroic” figures like this. After the hero talks about his or her brilliant career achievements, the host cuts to the chase and says, “How does your family feel about your working so hard at your job?”

Then the hero, wiping away hot tears from his eyes, solemnly and slowly recites, “They are very supportive and understanding, but they are ones I feel most sorry for.”

It’s a familiar yet heart-wrenching scene.

Our culture seems to be promoting the idea that a hero is one who would sacrifice himself for the common good.

There is an ancient legend about a man named Da Yu who chose to bypass his home three times while fighting to bring a flood under control. Influenced by this sort of culture, men unconsciously believe that career should always take precedence over family life.

Remarkably, there is also another positive way of thinking in Chinese culture:

[The ancient Confucian text The Book of Rites says,] The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. . . Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy.

Here we find a remarkable perspective on the priority of family over career.

A man’s profession of love, be it love for his own country or love for all humankind, is dubious if he cannot begin by loving those closest to him. Is he genuinely loving, or is he motivated by personal ambition?

Love needs to start with those around us. That is why family is more important than career, and that is why we need to think about family plans before we make our career plans for the next year.

2. Having lots of things to do is not scary; it is scary if you don’t intentionally face them.

Many times, I am determined to get off work on time in the afternoon to go home and have some quality time to play with my son. However, due to poor planning, I have to stay after office hours to complete so-called “important” and “urgent” tasks.

Yes, the culprits that make us sacrifice our health and family life are those “important” and “urgent” tasks.

There are many things in life that are important, but because we have the wrong attitude, wrong priorities, and made promises that we cannot deliver on, those important things then become urgent.

Time management expert Heigl says, “When something important becomes urgent, it becomes a tyrant and we get caught up in the busyness.” The price of busyness is that when a year passes, we often slap our heads and ask, “Hey, where did the year go?

Now, when we start planning for the year ahead, we are no longer asking where our time has gone, rather we plan the way it should go.

So, where do you start when planning for the year ahead with your family?

To make a family year plan, you need to start with the needs of your family members.

When considering a family’s needs, there are four core areas of needs that should be met.

1. Mind/Spiritual Growth

There are annual and daily activities that need to be scheduled throughout the year for the spiritual growth of the family.

Annual plans can be family camps for spiritual edification, orphanage service, and visits to people in need. Daily plans include things like family book clubs and attending “For Love, Read Out Loud” activities. Create an annual reading plan for the family.

2. Wellness Program

There are annual and daily health plans. The annual plan can be a family vacation plan, and the daily plan can be a family sports activity plan.

3. Study plans

Both parents and children need to make study plans for professional as well as academic development. These should include arrangements for study tours during vacations.

4. Financial Management Plan

The family’s financial expenses need planning and children need help with financial management.

Once the core areas are identified, the family planning session can begin.

It might also be a good idea to have a family workshop dedicated to next year’s plans, which in itself can be used to teach children how to plan for the future.

A good family planning session can look like this.

Preparation Phase:

  1. Have all members think about one question the week before the event: What exciting things would you like to see happen next year? And ask your family frequently during the week to see what great ideas they have.
  2. Before the planning meeting, make a thanksgiving list of the wonderful things that happened in the past year.
  3. Everyone shares about their good wishes for the next year and lists them on a piece of paper.
  4. Parents who have a talent for drawing can draw the wishes out with colored pencils.
  5. Prepare an annual calendar in advance, preferably with one space for each day.

Draft Phase:

  1. List all the family holidays: family birthdays, parents’ wedding anniversaries, children’s days, school opening ceremony, etc. Everyone can suggest activities for each holiday and then fill in the list.
  2. At this point, discuss everyone’s wishes and analyze together which ones can be goals and which ones need to wait.

In terms of goals, think of the kinds of activities your family needs to be involved in. Then fill in the table with these activities.

Post this family year planner where the whole family can see it and keep all the good memories fresh at the end of the year. 

Original Article: 就算疫情来了,日子还得照常过,你该做2021年的计划了! By 根基成长教育 (WeChat ID: Rootedu)

Image credit: Demiahl from Pixabay.
ChinaSource Team

ChinaSource Team

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