As any teacher of young children will attest to, the fastest way to teach is through play. It’s fun. It’s motivating. And when the game is over children are amazed that they have grown in knowledge and skill. Surprise! You thought you were just having fun, but it turns out you were learning!
Well, the same is true for us adults. Though we many not want to admit it, we like to learn by having fun, too.
A friend of ours who had recently read “Your To Be List” emailed to us to tell us about a “To Be List” game her family had invented. And I was so delighted to hear about it, I asked if I could share it here on this blog so that others could try it out themselves.
Here is what her email entitled “Being and Skiing” said:
We’re just back from a mini family ski get-away and I had to write to tell you about a great little game we invented, inspired by Your To-Be List.
Saturday morning, the kids had the ski mountain map out and were negotiating a plan for the day–what trails would we tackle first? Would we all ski together or split into pairs? When it came time for me to weigh in, I explained that regardless of what we agreed we’d do, I was working on my to-be list for the day. But rather than tell them outright what particular quality I was working on, I invited them to try to guess what it was at the end of the day.
We had a wonderful day of skiing–the best ever. We went back to the inn where we were staying about mid-afternoon and read, drew, and napped, then got up for a light snack, went for a swim at the rec center and finished the day with an impromptu, somewhat raucous, round robin ping pong tournament.
The next morning at breakfast, as we were planning our day again, I suddenly remembered I had forgotten to ask the evening before what everyone thought I had spent the day trying to be. “I know,” Tevy said. “Joyful!” “I think it was encouraging,” said Anna Kay. “No, it was adventurous,” said Sovann. “Playful? Kind? Helpful?” offered Tevy.
The answer was patient, but I hadn’t imagined how gratifying it would be to hear what my family thought they had noticed about my behavior the day before.
We went on to have another stellar day of skiing together, despite the fact that we found ourselves skiing for about 3 hours in freezing rain. Instead of focusing on the less than perfect weather we had, the kids chose to relish the fact that we practically had the mountain to ourselves. No lift lines meant we got a ton more skiing in.
Toward the end of the day, after shedding our soaked-through gear for drier things and regrouping in the lodge for a late lunch, we were all sharing personal highlights when Tevy said, “Hey, did anyone notice what I was trying to be today?” It turned out she had been working on being determined to try new things. And she wasn’t the only one who had quietly adopted a personal to-be aim for the day. Sovann announced he had been working on trying to bring humor to the day, and Anna Kay was working on being appreciative.
Somehow, I think our to-be game may just become part of our family vacation ritual. Thanks for the inspiration, my friend.
Love to you and your wonderful family,
What I loved about the retelling was her realization that in choosing To Be Patient, she was also perceived as joyful, loving, playful, kind, and helpful. It just goes to show how a simple decision To Be can result in such a huge shift — and not just in your day, but in the day of everyone whose lives you touch.
Choosing To Be is like planting a seed that quickly sprouts and grows into a strong shade tree under which others seek comfort, ease, and happiness.
Try playing the To Be List game with your friends, your family, or your colleagues today! See if they can guess your “To Be” of the day. You may be surprised (and delighted!) at their answers.