list_300x200Indoctrination comes naturally to parents. It’s what we do – think religion or politics. I’m guilty of it on various levels for different things, but I’m realizing there is one specific thing that I want my children to wholeheartedly embrace. As we prepare for the start of another school year, it’s becoming clear that I’m trying desperately to turn my kids into list makers.

My love of lists is undeniable. I have a “Master To Do List” document on my Google Drive that is separated into sections for different aspects of life, and I have a highlighter color coding system to indicate the urgency of tasks. This document is always, and I do mean always, open in a tab on my browser, and only in the last few months have I refrained from printing out the list periodically so I also have a paper copy.

It could be argued that I have a problem. But, if living an organized life is wrong, then I don’t want my children to be right.

That’s why you’ll find a small assortment of lists and charts hanging around our house. A section of our chalkboarded kitchen wall features the week’s calendar, and I’ve seen the children begin to regularly check it to see if anything exciting is coming up. Part of our summer routine these past ten weeks has included “helpful chart” time, in which the kids were reminded in chart form (using both text and pictures) of their morning and afternoon responsibilities, and a school year version is in the works right now. The question, “Have you done your chart?” is a lot easier to ask than going over individual items each and every day, and by using the inside of our front door as a hanging spot, the proof of the completed task can be represented by small magnets placed in the check box. Individual responsibility! Eco-friendly charts that don’t need reprinting! Win, win!

Being the parent of a child with ADHD and executive functioning challenges, I have even more motivation to help my son learn to become more organized, and we have tried a wide variety of list and chart formats over the years to find what works best for him. In his more reflective moments, he’s actually expressed sincere gratitude for the assistance, which is absolutely huge coming from an adolescent boy. The younger two have been asking me for days if I have their school year charts ready yet, so I think the list loving fever is catching on. My hope is that someday the urge to create a checklist will come naturally to them without my prompting. Then I’ll feel as if I’ve accomplished one very helpful bit of indoctrination.

Dawn knows her lists and schedules invite the teasing of others (some who even love her dearly), but she can’t imagine life without them. In her own schedule, she tries her best to fit in blogging at my thoughts exactly, and reviewing books at 5 Minutes for Books.