Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Rose and the Thorn

I wouldn't call myself a copycat, more like an alert observer. If I see or hear something I like and I think it will, in some way, improve my day, I use it. There's no sense in recreating the wheel but I do tweak things here and there, make it my own, and hopefully better sometimes.

I was home last Thursday, as it was my last day of summer vacation, and watching daytime TV. It surprised to me hear that the guest on the show that day would be President Obama. During the interview, Barbara Walters asked him a question about his time in office and "what has been your rose, what has been your thorn?" I later learned he does this activity every evening with his wife and girls. Anyway, I liked it and immediately decided we'd use it when school began.

Maybe it is part of having boys but there's usually only one answer I get when I ask, "How was your day?" No matter how the day was - amazing, depressing, exciting - I'll hear, "Fine" as the response. If I prod, "What did you learn?" I will usually hear one word, "Nothing." And it takes several more sentences and prodding to get much information about the day. I decided this year would be different.

Noah walks in, hot and flushed, but who can blame him in this sauna-weather we're having. I smile, greet him with a big hug, and am surprised by the many sentences which spurt out of his mouth. He informs me his is a "big 5th grader now, so look" and places a neatly packed folder in my hands. One side is to keep, one to sign and send back. (Amazingly, they aren't crinkled and stuffed in whatever pocket was open on his trapper.) I'm glad I'm sitting at this point, for it continues. Noah goes on to tell me about his day, new jobs he may have, and a neat icebreaker that I may have to "borrow" as well.

He goes away for a snack and I'm still smiling from the sharing moment we had, in addition to the many forms I know I'm about to complete. This is a little off track but I just have to say - it is one of my favorite parts about the first day of school! I'm a form girl and I LOVE filling out all that paperwork. (No, this is not an open invitation to complete all of yours!)

A few minutes later he returns, still searching for a snack, and I use the time to introduce our daily activity. He didn't give me a big stage to announce it on, since he kinda shared without needing it, but I continue anyway.

This year, every afternoon after school, and, for what I hope to be many years to come, we will use this to tell each other about our days. The thorn allows us one complaint. I know some roses have more than one than one thorn but a wise friend once told me she only allows herself one complaint a day - I borrowed that too, I guess! The rose, which has many petals, allows us to share one or several great points about our day. I was pleased to see Noah jump right in this afternoon and share them both.

And it made me smile even more when his "thorn" wasn't all that grumpy; it was a fact - it was HOT today!

Maybe you could "borrow" this idea with your own family and start a new tradition.  Here's hoping your day is always full of more roses than thorns.


Anonymous said...

1st off- you guys are back to school already? Wow!... I just love your writing! Its like I am sitting there, like the fly on the wall. The Rose and Thorn are a great conversation starters. We use something similar that I learned in a Parenting class at church- Just ask your family Mad-Sad-Glad. Something that made you Mad, something that made you sad and something that made you glad. Its been good for us to hear about eachothers day. - Heather Cruz

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