Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Morning is Tops

Can I read to you one of my favorite stories?  It comes from Arnold Lobel's "Grasshopper on the Road." (warning: it does say the s-t-u-p-i-d word.  Sorry)

Grasshopper walked quickly along the road.
He saw a sign on the side of a tree.
The sign said MORNING IS BEST.
Soon Grasshopper saw another sign.

Grasshopper saw a group of beetles.
They were singing and dancing.
They were carrying more signs.
“Good morning,” said Grasshopper.
“Yes,” said one of the beetles.
“It is a good morning. Every morning is a good morning!”
The beetle carried a sign.
“This is a meeting of the We Love Morning Club,” said the beetle. “Every day we get together to celebrate another bright, fresh morning. Grasshopper, do you love morning?” asked the beetle.
“Oh yes,” said Grasshopper.
“Hooray!” shouted all the beetles.
“Grasshopper loves morning!”
“I knew it,” said the beetle. “I could tell by your kind face. You are a morning lover.”

The beetles made Grasshopper a wreath of flowers.
They gave him a sign that said MORNING IS TOPS.
“Now,” they said, “Grasshopper is in our club.”

“When does the clover sparkle with dew?” asked a beetle.
“In the morning!” cried all the other beetles.
“When is the sunshine yellow and new?” asked the beetle.
In the morning!” cried all the other beetles.
They turned somersaults and stood on their heads.
They danced and sang.
“M-O-R-N-I-N-G spells morning!”

“I love afternoon too,” said Grasshopper.
The beetles stopped singing and dancing.
“What did you say?” they asked.
“I said that I loved afternoon,” said Grasshopper.
All the beetles were quiet.
“And night is very nice,” said Grasshopper.

“Stupid,” said a beetle.
He grabbed the wreath of flowers.
“Dummy,” said another beetle.
He snatched the sign from Grasshopper.
“Anyone who loves afternoon and night can never, never be in our club!” said a third beetle.

“UP WITH MORNING!” shouted all the beetles.
They waved their signs and marched away.
Grasshopper was alone.
He saw the yellow sunshine.
He saw the dew sparkling on the clover.
And he went on down the road.

– Arnold Lobel, ‘The Club’ in Grasshopper on the Road (New York: HarperCollins, 1978), 8–16.

I love mornings.  At least, I think I do. I think I could make cuts for the Beetles' club--but it would have to be after 10:30 if I'm bringing the kids.

In theory, morning is the best time to get stuff done, meditation is best in the morning, scriptures and everything else is best done in the morning.  Abraham's school starts pretty late in the morning, so morning is also a great time to spend with the kids, when they're at their best.

Then (and you know the story) we stayed up late last night because of abc, and then we didn't have a great night because of xyz.  We thought we had a lot of time this morning, but where did it go?  Somehow we're in a rush again.  I also like my children, as early as possible, to take responsibility for their own things.  That meant that every morning was a big nag-a-thon, with me begging my boys to stay focused and please get your backpack/breakfast/shoes, etc. I could foresee a lifetime of morning madness without some order brought to it.  

So, I finally sat down and made a list.  
I framed the list and put it in the kitchen, where it's easy to see and remember.  I was surprised to see that there was quite a bit for the little guys to remember every morning. The list has helped a lot.  It's much easier to just say, "Finish the list, then you can play!" than get after them for each little thing. We still haven't tapped morning's potential, but we've begun to see it!

What has helped your morning or get-out-the-door routine go more smoothly while not doing too much for your children?


  1. We love Grasshopper on the Road! (I change stupid and dummy. :)

    Beautiful list.

  2. Love this. It's true, mornings are so fresh and quiet and lovely...but prone to nagging for sure. (Especially when a certain oldest child of mine still likes running around in underwear as long as he can possibly manage.) It's nice to have a set system and list to mainstream it all. Great, thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey, we got this Lobel book from the library right before you posted (I know... I'm late with this comment...), but I read this post before I read the book. That was a fun little coincidence. We had never heard of it before. :)

    In my heart, I am a morning girl. KEY: I must fall asleep by 10:30. If I get a full night's sleep before the boys wake up, mornings are so lovely and productive. I am the glue to successful mornings. If I am up and ready early, everything else seems to follow suit (conversely, if I'm tired, mornings can be slow and hard). The boys often get up and dressed on their own, thankfully, especially Sammy (who's been that way since he was 2). I guess we have more flexibility since we school at home, but I really try to get it all done before lunch. One thing that helps us is having a concrete schedule out in the open and going over it together so expectations are clear.

    Having a regular morning list is a good idea!

    1. Having breakfast planned the day before (feeding sourdough, soaking hot cereal, or just knowing we'll have eggs, a smoothie, or whatever) helps so much!.