Digging for the Dirt

10:33 PMHeather

I vividly remember my oldest child's first day of kindergarten. I could hardly believe my boy would be away from me for 6 hours a day, under someone else's care. The fact that I had a three week old baby didn't help--raging hormones only added to my angst and emotions. Thankfully, that first Kindergarten week was only half-days in order to ease the transition. I'm sure it was good for my son, too.

So, at lunch time--three WHOLE hours of Collin's life without me--we eagerly picked him up for a special meal at his beloved Burger Box. I peppered Collin with questions about his first day. Who did he meet? What did he do? How did he like his teacher? How did it feel to be such a big boy? Did he learn anything new? Collin stared at me like I'd grown a second head. He nodded, muttered "I don't know" or grunted in response to each question.

My heart was broken. I faced the harsh reality that I would no longer be so aware of Collin's daily activities. My long suffering husband patiently told me, "Babe, you have two sons. Don't expect to know all the details. Boys don't give details." Gulp.

In my never ending quest for information, I've realized I need to dig for the dirt because these boys will not offer it willingly. In my quest, I've come across a little secret technique. And no, it does not involve shining a bright light down on their faces whilst they sit tied to a chair. While it does not fall under the category of INTENTIONALITY efforts new in 2011, I thought my secret was worth sharing. (Not to mention that in my constant search for craft ideas, I stumbled across something that inspired this blog post).

Several years ago, after watching the movie The Story of Us, Chris and I adopted the family tradition of asking about the best part of each family member's day. When we're feeling brave, we also ask about the worst part. We don't do this every night at the dinner table, but it is something we do regularly. While my boys may not be forthcoming about all details of their lives, they usually do share some insightful snippet in response to these questions. We've gleaned insight about bullying, friendships, worries and successes. And, on a particularly challenging day or after a difficult experience, we often ask our kids to find a best part, thereby coaching them to practice being thankful in everything.

INTENTIONAL challenge: Perhaps you want to incorporate a similar idea into your family's routine. Here's an idea for you--go to this blog for a GREAT tool to help you look for the best in each day and thereby dig out the dirt in your kids' lives. Personally, I might craft lift this for a gift idea? I'm afraid that if I keep making notebooks, lists, and other such things for our family then my children might rebel--and every mama can only do so much! Regardless of whether you do this craft or not, what conversation starters can you begin to incorporate into your daily dialogue to show your concern and to connect with your family?

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