Listing under the pressure of all these must-do lists

COMMENT: The return of good weather shouldn’t bring dread

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There was a list in a national paper last weekend which detailed 20 adventures every child should have before they are 16. I am not keen on these type of lists.

They compel me to read them so that I can crow that I have, for example, given my children all those adventures, but then when I don’t score highly, or more pertinently my children don’t, I get agitated.

The lists I find most annoying are those that name 50 places I must visit before I die. These appear every couple of weeks in travel magazines which means there are far more than 50 destinations as which self-respecting magazine would name the same places as their competitor did the month before? I am then left with pretty much the whole world on my radar and who is going to finance that trip for me?

Then there are the lists about owning the ultimate 100 albums of all time when I haven’t heard of at least a third of the artists. Those I ignore as lists of books and music will fluctuate, so who cares? I know I have a stable core mix that I am happy with.

But I read the 20 adventures for children with a mixture of disbelief and scorn. The first was okay; making a natural shelter and sleeping under it, but then it went downhill at speed. Use a sharp knife. To me that is a skill. Putting that in the 20 leaves the reader begging to know what the sharp knife should be used for. For example, skinning a polar bear – now that would be an adventure.

Adventuring to me is where a child has to take control of a situation, battle against it using either skill or wit or both and end up with, preferably, a good ending.

Other activities that must be achieved, according to the newspaper’s list, were climbing a tree and getting soaked to the skin. I really cannot see how these qualify as adventures. Maybe it’s because I was bred in the world of Enid Blyton where an adventure was climbing a tree, hiding in it overnight while getting soaked to the skin, and then getting the bad guy in the morning with the means of a sharp knife pointed in the right direction.

Me? I think I’ll change my outlook and make lists instead. One: remember not to read any more lists.