Are you a listmaker?
I read recently someone’s blog opinion (can we call that a blogpinion? an opinog?) that making lists doesn’t work. Much too late for me, as I’ve been working off lists for most of my life. My addiction (for that is what it has become) began was when I was packing for sleep-away Girl Scout camp and mom said, “Make a list.” So with pencil stub and paper in hand I began: official green vinyl Girl Scout swim cap. Equally official green Girl Scout bathing suit (not allowed to swim in civilian suits). Non-mandatory but definitely desirable Girl Scout button-down sweater. Day-of-the-week underpants - helpful to keep track of which day is which. Knee socks (with the removable green Girl Scout band and tassel at the top). Home made sit-upon for the obvious reasons. Mess kit for cookouts. And so it went. My first list, neatly printed and later checked off as I packed. The process was comforting and reassuring and thus…I was hooked.
There was a predictable progression to my lists as I grew older. From that first Girl Scout trip, I moved on to bigger and better lists: planning the perfect guests and decor for my first boy-girl party, enumerating the names of every cute boy in 9th grade (and how my first name would sound with their last name), brainstorming topics for my college thesis, obsessing over who to sit with whom at the wedding, the girl and boy list for baby names -- and my personal ultimate list -- the daily list I made each morning in my teaching career. Even though I had my lessons planned for the week and really the entire month in advance, I never really decided until that day how it would really go -- based on what had happened the day before, the weather, my mood, just so many things. My list-making ritual each morning was my one-minute meditation and organizer. And I don't think I'm alone in this. I think that blogpinioner might just be wrong, in certain cases at least.
I find kindred spirits in the List World everywhere I go. Here is one little soul whom I love dearly, and maybe you do too...
One morning Toad sat in bed.
"I have many things to do," he said. "I will write them all down on a list so that I can remember them."
Toad wrote on a piece of paper: A List of things to do today.
Then he wrote: Wake up.
"I have done that," said Toad, and he crossed out: Wake up.
Then Toad wrote other things on the paper.
Eat breakfast | Get dressed | Go to Frog’s house | Take walk with frog | Eat lunch | Take nap | Play games with Frog | Eat supper | Go to sleep
"There," said Toad. "Now my day is all written down."
He got out of bed and had something to eat. Then Toad crossed out: Eat breakfast.
Toad took his clothes out of the closet and put them on.
Then he crossed out: Get dressed.
Toad put the list in his pocket. He opened the door and walked out into the morning. Soon Toad was at Frog’s front door. He took the list from his pocket and crossed out: Go to Frog’s house.
Toad knocked at the door.
"Hello," said Frog.
"Look at my list of things to do," said Toad.
"Oh," said Frog, "that is very nice."
Toad said, "My list tells me that we will go for a walk."
"All right," said Frog. "I am ready."
Frog and Toad went on a long walk. Then Toad took the list from his pocket again. He crossed out: Take walk with Frog.
Just then there was a strong wind. It blew the list out of Frog’s hand. The list blew high up into the air.
"Help!" cried Toad. "My list is blowing away. What will I do without my list?"
"Hurry!" said Frog. "We will run and catch it."
"No!" shouted Toad. "I cannot do that."
"Why not?"asked Frog.
"Because," wailed Toad, "running after my list is not one of the things that I wrote on my list of things to do!"
I can SO relate to Toad’s zen-like dilemma! Toad and Teri. BFFs. Sigh. Never you worry, though. Toad eventually remembers the very last thing on his list. And there is the lesson in lists -- they are ours to make, and we can always end them and start again. (And having a friend like Frog around isn't so bad either.)
"Go to sleep!" shouted Toad. "That was the last thing on my list!"
Toad wrote on the ground with a stick: Go to sleep. The he crossed out: Go to sleep.
"There," said Toad. "Now my day is all crossed out!"
"I am glad," said Frog.
Then Frog and Toad went right to sleep.
From "The List" from Arnold Lobel's [Frog And Toad] Together ISBN:0064440214