Planting Rice or Educating Children

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This quote, attributed to Confucius, can be found in a couple different forms. I completely agree with the approach of planning for 100 years and educating children. Education has a large part of my life and our families’ activities. My wife is teacher and I try to do a lot to give back to the education community, specifically the schools that made the largest impact on my own education (www.oc.edu and OCAcademy.org). Being in Oklahoma, education doesn’t, at least from the news and budgets, garner a lot of priority.  Here are a few examples from recent history: 

This isn’t a political post about Oklahoma. This is about planning correctly in your life. I believe education is important, but that doesn’t mean we can forget about planting rice. Imagine if all we did was focus on education and didn’t think about feeding our children or maintaining our infrastructure? To be a successful society, we have to focus on long term and short term planning. Here’s how to manage all of it:

First and foremost, eternity should be our focus. The Bible tells us that we don’t know what tomorrow will bring (Proverbs 27:1) and that our focus must be on Heaven (Colossians 3:1-2). Don’t get wrapped up so much in the issues of this world that you forget what is important for eternity.

Next, think about the long term. This is the 100-year thinking that Confucius emphasized in this quote. If we want to be successful and a relevant society then we need to focus on education and the long term items that make a difference. Your planning for 100 years could look different than mine, but we all need to be doing something. As a father, I want to be educating my sons on life and Spiritual skills needed to be successful. I also want to make sure their formal education is getting the attention it needs. For me, this means financial and time commitments to the school they attend. You could want to influence education-focused legislation or support a community education organization. Whatever it is, you should be doing something to influence life 100 years from now. (I wrote a post a while ago about 3 steps to take when writing long term goals. Check it out here: Long-Term Goals)

As you can imagine, or have read here, that intermediate or medium-range goals come next. Confucius would tell us to plant some trees after we planned for education. Those trees could be used for shade, to make paper or other products, or build houses and buildings… There is a lot you can do and develop in 10 years!

Lastly, focus on the short-term goals that matter sooner rather than later. Plant some rice so that you can eat this year! Short-term goals need to be effective and aligned with your long term vision, so if rice doesn’t suit your needs then you should figure out how to grow corn or wheat!

Confucius was right to emphasize 100-year thinking. Too often today we focus on the instant gratification of life that gets us what we need quickly so we don’t have to plan for farther out. But the opposite is true as well: don’t think so much about the future that you miss today. Find the right balance between thinking 100 years from now and planning for tomorrow.

I am curious how you manage to keep your life aligned with long-term and short-term goals. Would you share with me what techniques you use?

Until next week, keep pressing on towards your goals!

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