I’m a curious girl. And by that I mean, I like to know things. I like to know things just for the sake of curiosity. There, we have that covered. That was easy. Children, by nature, if you ask them alot of questions, will find ways to avoid answering them, which challenged my innate sense of curiosity as a single Mom. Or so it was in our home. The more questions I asked, the quieter it got. So one day I got creative. How could I phrase a question that would engage them in conversation and satisfy my curiosity. I pondered this for quite awhile. And then it came to me. So each day, either at dinner, or as I put them to bed, I would ask each daughter “What was the BEST part of your day and what was the WORST part of your day?” Because let’s face it, in life there is balance. There is good, there is that which is not good, and I wanted to hear it all. Well, it caught on. Kids LOVE to be listened to. And they LOVE to share. They just don’t want to be questioned. It didn’t take long before the bickering started over this…”I want to go first”…”no…you went first last night”…but everyone got their turn and it was fun. Soon, they started asking me about my best and worst part of my day. I learned some amazing things. And, I think my children learned some amazing things too.
Here is one of my favorite stories.
Me. “Kenzie, what was the best part of your day?” (This was 5th grade)
Kenzie. “Well, Mom, I got a whole bunch of my girl friends together in the girls room after school and showed them how to make toilet paper mache huge spit balls with water, and then we threw them at the ceiling, and they stuck. It was soooo cool”.
Me. “What was the worst part of your day?”
Kenzie. “Rachel couldn’t be there cuz she had to stay after school”
Next night. Me. “Kenz, what was the best part of your day?”
Kenzie. “There wasn’t one (and the tears started).
Me. “How come?”
Kenzie. Snifflling. Sobbing. and then hyper-ventilating. “be…cau..cause, the janitor saw us and told Mrs. Roby the principal and we are in big trouble…and they called us down to the principles office and got really mad and said something about asbestos on the ceiling. Mom…will you call them and tell them I’m sorry?”
I paused, took a deep breath and looked her right in the eye and said “Kenz, I’m sorry you are so upset. What started out as fun turned into something not so fun. But here’s the story. There is something in life called taking personal responsibility”.
Perplexed, she asked “What’s that?”
Me. “It’s when you take responsibility for your actions, fess up, apologize, and accept the consequences”.
Kenzie didn’t sleep well that night. She also had a stomach ache the next morning and wanted to stay home. But she went to school. And she did face the principal and janitor. And she did own up to her antics. And it did cost the school thousands of dollars to have an asbestos specialist come in and fix the ceiling. But she learned a big lesson, and never did anything like that again.
As for me, deep down, I had to laugh. I mean, she was being a kid, and having fun. But most importantly, I was proud of her when she took responsibility and admitted her actions were wrong and apologized.
Most nights were not that dramatic. The stories were usually like “Mom, I got an A on my science test, or I tripped on the play ground and hurt my knee”.
To this day, we ask each other these questions, and listen to the answers. It’s a tradition now. It’s one of the childhood memories I created for my daughters. We went through alot over the last 18 years, but we love each other, respect each other, and would do anything for each other.
Here’s to Brooke and McKenzie – you guys ROCK!!!
And if you have children or grandchildren, try this out. It’s fun. You learn ALOT!! and you build trust and respect, which really is what relationships are all about.