The Family That Plans Together…

…Stays together. If only in the world of television.

Confession: I don’t watch much TV, but what I do watch is a bit out-dated. There are current shows that I record with my DVR and watch when I have time. Then, there are older shows I record and watch when I’m doing things around the house—I have seen these shows before and can leave the room, return, and not have missed much.

One of the shows that fits into this category is the 1980’s hit sitcom “Family Ties,” starring Michael J. Fox. When the show was on the air, my family watched it together. I was too young to appreciate Fox’s character Alex P. Keaton, as he’s very political, economy-driven, and a conservative republican. His idols were Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. Back then, I thought he was a stuffy, annoying teenager who didn’t know how to have fun. (And at the age I was, my definition of fun was playing with Cabbage Patch Kids, Pound Puppies, and My Little Pony, to name a few.) Today, I can appreciate the character for what and who he is. Much of what Alex says and does is quite humorous.

What does this have to do with planning?

I recently saw an episode where Elyse (the mother) is bogged down with work deadlines and commitments. The family is upset that she’s never home, works late, and rushes off in the morning with barely time for a proper breakfast. When her project is complete, she vows that things will get lighter.

She, Steven (the father), and Alex are in the kitchen discussing Elyse’s schedule:

Elyse: (Pulls out her planner, something of an A5 size, probably meant to be a DayTimer, and flips through the sections.) No, no, no. Take a look. See? According to my daily planner… Huh? Week at a glance… (Flips to a new section) Month at a glance… You know, Alex, you might enjoy one of these.

Alex: Oh, no, Mom. That’s not for me. No, I need decade at a glance.

Of course, later that same morning, Elyse is given another big project she can’t turn down, becomes overwhelmed yet again, and forgets to pick up their youngest son, Andrew, from school.

At points in my life, I can totally relate to this scenario. But never, in a millions years, would I want a planner featuring “decade at a glance.” Can you imagine how big and overwhelming that binder would be?


  1. and then there was Mallory who couldn't keep a thought in her head longer than five seconds. Bless her heart. ;-)

  2. Yes, she was rather flighty, wasn't she? I like all of the characters, though. They go together well.

  3. I just watched an episode last weekend for giggles. It look so dated now, but at the time I loved that show. I would watch and wish my p's were like Steven and Elyse. Mine were more Ozzie and Harriet.

  4. Ozzie and Harriet! My dad loved that show (therefore, I have seen many episodes). Yes, Steven and Elyse were great parents. I have good parents too though, so I shouldn't complain. That show is quite dated, but many of the "lessons" are still good today. I think that's what's wrong with today's TV shows - there are no lessons/morals learned/illustrated. It's all "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" (which can sometimes be funny as well, so long as it's done tastefully). ;)


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