Monday, April 4, 2011

"to-do" vs. "to-be"

Are you a list maker like me? It's easy for me to overwhelm myself with tasks swirling around in my head that need to be done, and it's only when I write them on a list with a check box next to them that I feel like I can conquer the pile of things that need to get finished.

This past weekend, I didn't do anything on my checklist except watch and listen to General Conference. One particular remark from Elder Lynn G. Robbins caught my ear as he talked about "doing" versus "being."

"Many of us create to-do lists to remind us of things we want to accomplish, but people rarely have "to-be" lists. Why? To-do's are activities or events that can be checked off the list when done. To be, however, is never done. You can't earn checkmarks with be's...As a parent, when can I check a child off my list as done? We are never done being good parents, and to be good parents, one of the most important things we can teach our children is how to be more like the Savior."

It seems like I learn more often from them how to be like the Savior than I teach them. I guess we teach each other. So, just when I start to work myself into a tizzy because I'm not getting enough done or checking things off my list or finishing that lingering project, I will remember to look at my children and just be. All I have to do is watch them to know how it's done.


  1. I think that talk resonated with so many parents, especially moms. When Elder Robbins said that "people rarely have to-be lists," I got a little excited because I actually DO have a to-be list. A couple years ago I sat down and identified lifetime goals in each area of my life. Now each year when I write down my goals, I look at each of those to-be's and work toward them. And the list-maker in me has it all laid out in an Excel spreadsheet! That way I can sort of chart my progress in each area of my life, working toward those lifelong to-be goals.

  2. I LOVED that talk. With three busy kids I didn't seem to get more than a word or two out of any talk except that one. I think it was meant for me (okay, maybe you too, and a whole lot of other moms). :D

  3. That's funny--that's one of the talks I picked to use for my visiting teaching lessons, especially the part of "to be", not just "to do". He was one of the best bosses when I worked at Franklin--always very kind and soft spoken, even when the other big guys were upset or not handling things well.