“WOW Obgectives”

My son is 10. He’s a typical younger brother in that his favorite pastime is to torture his older brother. When he’s not doing that – in the moments between putting on pajamas and actually sleeping – he writes. It’s a nightly ritual.

A stack of notebooks dating back to 2009 tower precariously on the floor beside his bed. Every now and then, he’ll pull one from the bottom of the pile and give it to me to use. (I like scrap paper on my desk at all times, and his old notebooks invariably have oodles of empty pages.)

Today, when he handed me an ordinary Top Flight composition notebook, I expected more of his old to-do lists, short stories, abandoned letters to Santa or pencil drawings.

Instead, page one was adorned with this:

Forget the misspelling.The rest of the page includes a list of ways he plans to be awesome. It’s his personal list of things that would make every day a “WOW” for him.

1. Level up!

2. Meet other awesome people!

3. Be alive!

4. It’s my world!

The page also includes the typical must-haves. A bucket of slime, lizards, zombie action figures and a pet iguana. On the back, he jotted down his “priorities” for the year. This is an old notebook, and therefore an old list. I’d guess he was about seven when he wrote it.

So here’s the point. My f*cking seven (7!) year old wrote a list of things that will make him sit back and say “WOW”. Granted, he’s nowhere near mature enough to take those concrete ideas and plot out specific steps. But if he can write down what will make him happy, why can’t we? Why do we stop short of saying – of labeling, declaring to the universe – what we want?

Mostly, because we’re afraid. That we don’t deserve it. That it will never happen. That we’re setting ourselves up for failure. But at age seven, my son didn’t know much about being afraid of finding happiness. (And now that he’s 10, I suspect he still doesn’t.)

So here’s my message: Channel my 10 year old. Use your awesome pen or your awesome keyboard or your awesome brain and make your awesome self sit back and “WOW.” Because you totally can.

7 replies
  1. Brian Watkins
    Brian Watkins says:

    Level up made me laugh out loud, and it’s the right idea (gaining experience points). It’s awesome that your son is willing to make that kind of list — way more organized than I was at that age.

  2. Dana
    Dana says:

    That is just so awesome. You must be doing something equally awesome to inspire such a sense of wonder in him at the age of 10. I’m trying hard to keep that alive in my 10 year old daughter. It’s so easy for them to slip into the ennui of pre-teen crap. What’s your secret?

  3. Lynda, aka Lady Quixote
    Lynda, aka Lady Quixote says:

    “Level Up, Meet other awesome people, Be alive, It’s my world” – at 7? What in the heck are you feeding your kids?

    When I was 7 I was pretending my back yard swing was an airplane, and when it stopped/landed, I would be anywhere in the world that I wanted to be. Paris, England, the Australias Outback, an African jungle – they all looked very similar to my back yard.

    I believe that was the year I dug a hole in our yard, determined not to stop until I reached China. Some adult had told me that if you dug a hole straight down through the earth, China was where you would come out.

    I soon got tired of digging, however. So then I decided to try something easier. My school teacher had said that all rivers eventually end up in the sea. A tiny brook meandered through the woods behind our house in the Ozarks of Missouri. I took off down the path alongside the creek one morning, thinking that I could make it to the beach and back before bedtime, with my parents none the wiser. But I only made it as far as a barbed wire fence that blocked off a neighbor’s cow pasture.

    And people thought I was precocious at 7? You must be so proud of your young geniuses. Wow Obgectives, indeed!

    • Lynda, aka Lady Quixote
      Lynda, aka Lady Quixote says:

      Actually, the more I think about it, I must have been 6 when I tried to dig my way to China. I couldn’t have been 7, because my baby twin sisters were born just before my 7th birthday, and I had no free time for trips to the other side of the world after that. But I really would like to know what you feed your amazing kids.


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