REFLECTION: Anticipating and planning PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 March 2015 14:21



This is a skill we should try to cultivate as early as possible. It’s actually a necessity, a vital consequence of our nature that needs to work things out instead of just waiting for things to work out by themselves. It’s what is proper to us.

The youth need it urgently today. Having to contend with their raging hormones that would usually put them in shallow, knee-jerk mode, they are now continually tickled with so many images and other things that would keep them from seeing beyond their noses, made worse for us since we tend as a race to have short noses.

Sad to say, many times we allow ourselves to drift away and to be carried away by external forces in our environment, leaving us completely at their mercy. We obviously are conditioned by certain elements, both inside and outside us, but we are meant to direct our own lives too, since we are the captains of our own ships.

We should try to avoid what is called as fatalism, that twisted trust in a destiny that is so blind that we would feel no need to do anything at all. Equally to be avoided is that anything-goes attitude of many reckless and irresponsible people nowadays.

While we are not in full control of things, we have enough elements to warrant the practicability and practicality of this skill of anticipating and planning. And precisely because we are not in control of everything, we have even greater reason to develop this skill as soon as possible.

We just have to be careful to avoid the other extreme of over-anticipating and over-planning such that we end up over-anxious and worried and fall into an obsessive-compulsive syndrome, practically converting us into control freaks. Unfortunately, we also have quite a number of people with this kind of disorder.

We also have to learn how to live a sense of abandonment in the hands of God. Let’s not forget that our life is always a joint life between God and us. It’s both God’s and ours. Relying only on one and neglecting the other in this indispensable duality of our life would unavoidably lead us to some trouble, if not materially, socially or economically, then, for sure, morally and spiritually.

With all that said, we now have to proceed to how to cultivate this very crucial skill. We need to respect a certain learning curve in this that will always require some big effort in the beginning until some ease, comfort, joy and connaturality would develop.

Development has to go through stages arranged in some kind of an inclined plane. In the beginning, we always need to be spoon-fed first. We have to be asked to make some kind of daily schedule, defining our priorities, identifying our needs and resources we can avail of, etc.

Obviously, when dealing with kids, we start with the most elementary and immediate needs that are not, of course, the most important and basic. They need to be directly supervised from always to occasional.

But there has to be a gradual process of letting them get involved into more and bigger responsibilities—their studies, the use of money and other resources, then the development of virtues like order, prudence, temperance, fortitude, etc.

This has to go on until they realize the greatest need to develop their spiritual and moral life that will always be an ongoing, till-death affair. In each stage of development, appropriate strategies have to be devised to help them anticipate and plan their days, weeks, months, etc.

One basic thing to remember always is to appeal to kids’ spiritual faculties of thinking, judging and reasoning, without of course compromising their emotional and physical needs.

The ideal situation would be that latter faculties be made to lead them to discover and use the former faculties and to express what the former would indicate. There has to be some healthy unity and harmony between the intelligence and emotions, the spiritual and the physical aspects.

Another thing to keep in mind is to teach kids to distinguish between the essential and non-essential, and better if the differences between the two be made more and more nuanced, with the finer distinctions well-defined and appreciated.

Let’s never forget that in all this task of cultivating the skill of anticipating and planning, just as in all other skills we need to develop, there’s always need to have recourse to God for guidance and for the grace to make things happen as they should.

Let’s hope that we can have the next generation better equipped in this skill.