The Best Laid Plans...
Those are Johnny's favorite words. Most of his plans leave me speechless. I am, after all, a practical grownup and he is a 5-year-old dreamer.
For instance, he said that when he turned six he'd row a boat to an African wildlife preserve, pick up a chimpanzee and have it play on his basketball team. But that would never work because Johnny doesn't play basketball. He plays soccer.
He said that when his 3-year-old brother Richie's superpowers kicked in, he would fly Johnny to other planets, where he would drill into the core and take samples. Later we would run various tests on these. But the problem is, Justin is using his drill for work.
Of course, I haven't mentioned these minor details to Johnny. I just say, "That sounds like a great idea."
The ideas just keep coming. He must trip over them on his way from his bedroom to the living room in the morning. Just yesterday, his plan was to build an underground playhouse in our backyard and glue his shell collection to his bedroom walls.
Not all his plans involve fun and adventure.
My Nana fell in her house the other day. She is recovering at home and will be okay. But when she first fell, I said, "Let's say a prayer."
Johnny, on the other hand, paced between the dining room and living room, saying, "Let's make a plan."
He came up with one just as we clasped our hands. He squirmed in his seat as Richie and I offered our intentions.
When it was his turn, he said, "I pray that we get $100 so we can get Nana a butler."
His eyes got big and he sat back, as if to say, "How did I think of that? A butler would solve everything."
Wouldn't it be great to have such confidence in your wild ideas? To sit down at bill paying time, for instance, and say, "I know. We could dig for lost treasure on an island in the South Seas." Or, "We could always become Hollywood actors. I hear they make a lot of money."
The funny thing is, some grownups do carry out outlandish plans.
Hydroponics comes to mind. The children's museum I take the boys to has a little garden like this, in which plants grow without soil in a bed of what look like, but aren't, cedar balls.
I imagine the scientist behind this picked a tomato from the vine one day and said, "Lose the dirt, man. You can get nutrients from other sources. It would be hydroponic. Hooked on phonics. Ebonic. Why, it would be Grease Lightnin'." Or something to that effect.
Or I think of Madeleine L'Engle, whose book "A Wrinkle in Time" became my favorite when we read it in Mrs. Walsh's sixth grade reading class. The book about traveling through space is a children's classic, but it must have seemed like a crazy idea at first. The plot came to L'Engle while she was raising three children and reading Einstein's writings on quantum physics.
I imagine her saying, "You know who would love quantum physics? Children. They would gobble it up like astronaut ice cream."
People have had crazier ideas and bigger plans. Many have failed, rendering them short-sighted fools. Others have succeeded, making them geniuses with tremendous foresight. But they all started with a spirit that can be summed up in four little words, "Let's make a plan."