I’m not sure how to be a parent. I wish there was an easy-to-follow app that I could install on my iPhone that would tell me what to do on days 1 through 6,570 that I get with each of my kids until they turn 18.
But I’ve searched…a lot…and there’s not. So, I’m winging it. The one area of my life that I feel most like an imposter…and the one that has the most consequences if it doesn’t go well.
As the leader in my home, I am counted on by my wife and my children to lead well. To not cause any wounds in their life, while setting my children up for a normal, healthy life when they leave the home. It’s a job description unlike any other I’ve had and a job that I take more seriously than I’ve ever taken any other ‘job’ I’ve held.
I will be blogging about some of the things I do in future posts. But, there is one thing that I do that has been noticed by those around me and mentioned as something unique and beneficial to my relationship with my children.
I ask them 2 questions each night. It’s always the same 2 questions and the answers are often similar, if not the same. But I ask them any way.
“What was the best part about today?” is my first question. Notice, I didn’t say what made you happiest or what went your way. I ask what the best part was. Answers vary on this question, but often lead to discussions about time with friends and family or doing a meaningful activity that helps me speak to the bigger things in life. You see, this question isn’t about the question or even the answer. It’s about starting a larger conversation (that usually lasts about 3 – 5 minutes tops) about life.
I’ve found that I turn the page of life too fast and too often and I hope to build into my kids a practice of looking back over their days to appreciate that there is something good that happens to them or around them each and every day. I far too regularly miss the little things of life and I hope that my kids will not.
And, the neat thing is that now that my two oldest are 4 and 5 years old, they’ve started asking me this question back. Then, I get the chance to reflect on my day and let them into my world a little…
“What are you having for breakfast tomorrow?” I have to admit that this question began because deciding what the kids are having for breakfast proved to be a difficult and frustrating thing. And to some extent, asking this does help to overcome that quagmire. But, the larger motivation behind this is to look forward to tomorrow.
This question often leads to other conversations as well. But, what it does, is instill in my children the idea that it’s good to think ahead and plan. It also lets me into their lives and their minds at a deeper level. It shows that daddy cares about every detail of their lives…even the simple things like breakfast.
Are there regular conversations that you have/had with your children that create(d) moments for connection? What are they? Are there ideas from this post that you will take and make your own?