I don’t remember when or how it started. We bring a plastic fork to the table when we have dinner at the Berg house. This particular fork is perfect for spinning. When it lays with the tines curved down, each end hovering slightly off the surface of the table, it’s center as a pivot point, you can give it a twirl and watch it spin – it’s fun!
More than fun, though, we use the fork as a pointer. Whoever the fork’s tines end up pointing to shares first. After one person shares, the fork is spun again to determine who goes next, and so on until each member of the family has shared three things: the best part of their day, the biggest challenge they faced during the day, and something they are grateful for.
For a while, most challenges the kids shared were about a brother or sister bothering them. They regularly expressed thinly veiled difficulties they were having with one another. They did so in light hearted ways. Regardless, the word “challenge” became synonymous with the word “gripe.”
Lorelei and I were noticing this pattern. It wasn’t in the spirit of the activity. We meant for the practice to be uplifting, reflective and celebratory. So, we decided to be intentional about making a shift. We intervened.
We began by explaining that the challenges we wanted to hear about were not necessarily annoyances or “bad” things that someone did to them during the day, but problems they faced, and moments in time during during which they had to employ courage to solve those problems. We explained that challenges should be things they fought to overcome, not things that simply bothered them. We emphasized that we were looking for reports of bravery.
We’re still working on it, but every once in a while we get a good one. Focused on a writing assignment or made a new friend on the playground. Every so often we hear about experiences our kids are having through which they learn and grow. Our hope is that along the way, they’re building strength and fortitude.
I can’t imagine a more challenging set of circumstances for parents and educators than the set of circumstances we’re living through right now. Every day I see examples of courage all around me. We’re putting every bit of energy into keeping our kids safe and balanced as they navigate the ebbs and flows of this unique moment. We’re doing the best we can. We’re doing great.
As we take the challenges one at time, lets remember to give ourselves room to grow. We experience ebbs and flows, too. As we think about challenges, let’s think about how we can use courage to transform them into triumphs. When we do, we model the process for our kids. When we fall short, we’re simply faced with an additional challenge, that of dusting ourselves off and trying again. Another opportunity for us to model the strength and fortitude we hope to instill in them.
Thanks for reading…in it together for the kids!
Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.