Navigating parenting waters in the world today is more difficult than ever. Sometimes, it feels like I’m swimming against the current. I often catch myself wondering why on earth I brought two beautiful little souls into such a hurting and broken world. They didn’t ask to be born in a world filled with religious infighting, senseless violence, rife starvation, and a general disregard for the lives, feelings, and rights of others. But, then, I have moments of lucidity. One or both of my two children may help solve these problems, and as such, it’s MY responsibility to raise two good humans.
I believe that if I raise my children to be be cognizant of what they’re doing, what they enjoy, what they are thankful for, and what they have done for others that is kind, they will be well rounded stewards of our planet and society.
In the spirit of this, I’d like to share the new routine we have in our household each evening. Starting on Jan 1, 2017, I began spending an extra 10-15 minutes each evening cuddling with my kids and talking to them about their day. And I started asking them 4 very important questions.
Something happened that I didn’t expect, this became my absolute favourite time of day to no one’s surprise, but it also became their favourite time of day. The 3 of us, snuggled in one of their beds with the light off, the twilight turtle splaying stars on the roof, and a positive conversation about our day. They’ve started asking the same questions back to me, and I just love our “bedtime conversations” as Zen calls them.
What did you do today?
I love this question, even though I often hear repeats of the excited chatter from the drive home, I always hear something else, something they would have forgotten to tell me if we hadn’t had our conversation. The quiet setting where they each get a turn to speak allows for a deeper introspect and better, more thought out answers about things they learned, things they did, and how they played during the day!
What was your favourite part of your day?
This question gives me insight into the things they truly enjoyed doing through the day. Sometimes it’s a special treat that they got during the day, other times, it’s a simple activity or moments spent with their dad and I. It gives a lot of insight into things they love, it also helps with planning activities in the future.
The cool things with this question is that every day is different than the last, so it’s neat to see how each day’s activities shape the favourite part of their day.
What were you thankful for today?
Being thankful for what you have is such an important part of overall happiness, this exercise helps them to pick one or two things each day that they were thankful for. Last weekend, they were thankful that they got to spend time with my mom and their Aunty Kate. Other days, they are thankful I made their favourite dinner, or that we had a fun home-stay-day (what we call no school days), or even that we had fresh snow to play in.
What did you do today that was kind?
In my life, I strive for kindness, and I want my kids to do the same. To me, the world can always use more kindness, and as an added bonus, kindness is contagious – the more kindness you spread, the more you’ll receive. I want my kids to learn that it’s a good thing to be kind to everyone – the mailman, the waitress, their friends, their teachers, strangers, and each other.
This is my favourite question of them all, because now, both of them go out of their way to be kind and love sharing it with me and seeing me, and their sibling, beam with pride and congratulate them on their acts of kindness.
Like I said earlier, the world is a scary and dark place sometimes, but light is the only thing that drives out the darkness. We absolutely MUST raise our kids to be kind, to be patient, to be not only tolerant but inclusive, to be fair, and to have an innate goodness in them.
Crave the good,