M and I have read several of the Magic Tree House books together and we have been listening to the series in order in the car. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, a brother and sister, Jack and Annie, discover a tree house in the woods near their home. They learn that the tree house belongs to Morgan Le Fay who is Camelot’s magical librarian. Morgan travels through time finding books about the places and eras she visits. In each book, the pair go on a mission for Morgan or, later in the series, Merlin.
Jack is a planner. He would prefer to think the mission through before they travel in the tree house. He needs to gather supplies and books. Once they arrive in a new place, he wants to study their surroundings before leaving the tree house. Annie is much more impulsive. She’d rather climb down the ladder as soon as they arrive in a new place. She goes right up to strangers whether people or animals, and Jack is always trying to call her back while he gets ready.
I got to thinking yesterday about how I’m much more like Jack and M is much more like Annie. She is ready to charge into things while I’m calling her back and trying to prepare us with everything we need. This personality difference is the source of many of our clashes. I was curious whether she realized that we are different in this way. So this morning at breakfast, I asked her whether she thought she was more like Jack or more like Annie. She immediately said she was like Annie and I asked her why and she said “because I like to jump right into things.” Then I asked her who I was more like and she immediately said Jack. We agreed that I liked to have everything pulled together before starting something new.
I think, as Mary Pope Osbourne shows in the stories, there are good things and bad things about both personality types. I’m often calling M back when I should just let go and rush out to join her, figuratively or literally. We don’t really need to pack a bag of supplies to walk down the street and see how many new colors of tulips have blossomed (Yes, I’m that mom with The Bag). And there are times when careful preparation makes all the difference in a successful day. Hikes and other outings really do go better if we’ve packed plenty of snacks and drinks, and we have some band-aids and extra clothes on hand. What these thoughts have taught me is that I need to be aware of this difference in our personality and not let it keep either of us from feeling comfortable and having fun.