Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Almighty List

Every Sunday I make a grocery list. Mind you, I rarely physically go and do the shopping, my husband does, but I make the list! Without the list, he wouldn't know what to buy. Without the list, we'd overspend. Without the list, I know I'd be lost.

The list is a part of a plan I follow. It grows out of my meal plan for the week. Oh yes, I do that too, and low and behold, I usually don't do the cooking either. I have almost-grown children for that!

I must admit that when I do go with my husband to the grocery store, I feel inadequate. I wander the store like a lost child separated from her mother, and often meet him around the next aisle with that same coupon in my hand wide-eyed and confused. He just shakes his head at me and laughs. He knows this isn't my forte.

I'm a planner by choice. It makes life simpler and takes less effort over all. I guess you could say that I'm organized because I'm basically lazy. I don't want to run around trying to figure things out on the fly. That's exhausting and more stressful in my experience.

As a teacher I am also a planner and well-organized. This isn't to say that I sacrifice creativity in favor of a well laid out plan; the plan actually allows for more opportunities to "stray." I can always get back on track after spending time detouring to some scenic overlook. The idea is to know where you're going and how to get there.

Teaching this sense of purposeful navigation to our children is challenging though. They live in the "right now" and rarely see past the moment. Developmentally, they can't see it any other way. But there comes a time around 13 - 17 (depending on your child's maturity) that they "get it" and are capable of putting themselves on a path towards a goal. They need training though, and as their teachers and parents, we're the ones charged with that task.

I'm sure you experience some frustration in this area. What drives you crazy about following the "best laid plans" with your kids? Do you have a list you follow? Do you have a plan?