Do you remember the books by Arnold Lobel all about Frog and Toad? Anyone who learned to read in the 80s and even the 90s has had these simple stories lay open on their school desk in an effort to decode words. I loved these stories. The simplicity, the friendship, the lessons.
It turns out these amphibians were right about a lot of things.
1 | Hold your list loosely and be the person your friend deserves.
I love lists. They create order in the world that sometimes feels too chaotic for my Type A brain. I’m not always good at completing lists, but they make me happy just the same. The problem comes when I hold on too tight.
Toad gets it. He wrote a list of his own. He even included things that I think we all should, just so we have the pleasure of checking them off.
Waking up, going to sleep, and all the things in between made his list. Even things like eating meals and naps and time with his friend. I like his lists. But what happens when the list gets blown away in the wind of the day?
I often wonder that very thing.
The best part about Toad losing his list is the thing I want. He has a friend, Frog, who tries to get it for him, and when that proves impossible, he just sits with Toad. He is the exact friend Toad needs. He doesn’t try to change Toad. He is just there with his friend.
We all need a friend like that. A friend that will be with us when life is giving us a beating, when we don’t make any sense, and the only thing we can think to do is sit with our head in our hands. We all need that kind of friend. And the best way to find one is to be one.
2 | Sometimes we have to wait in life. Books, music, and sleep are among the best ways to do so.
In another story, we see Frog’s great friendship again. When Toad plants a garden he wants instant results.
I can relate.
And it’s not even about the garden. It’s about everything I do. When I discipline my kids, I want them to learn and move on. When I need to make dinner I want to whip it up and clean it up and move on. Sometimes I lack the patience life requires.
When Toad is trying to help his seeds grow, he does three things: reads, sings, and sleeps. We know that these are no magic formula to grow a garden, but sometimes in life we need to pass the time. And when we are stressed and anxious, pushing for something to happen that is simply not ready, we would do well to read, sing, and sleep.
Even the hardest things look a lot better after we do.
3 | Give yourself permission to enjoy the cookies with a friend.
My favorite story has nothing to do with waiting or lists. It’s all about cookies. When Frog and Toad find themselves unable to stop eating cookies, they work together to develop will-power.
Each step of the way, they put an obstacle between them and the beloved cookies. And each time they find a way through the obstacle to eat yet another cookie.
I’ve eaten many a cookie with my best friend. We could find other things to do. We could avoid the cookies. We could still be friends without the cookies. But the truth is, friendship can be much more delicious with them.
Pick up a copy of Frog and Toad today – your little ones will love the stories of these simple characters and you’ll love the walk down memory lane.