A few years ago a colleague of mine was directing professional learning. In the session we were building community by learning about each other. In her infinite wisdom she explained the idea of roses and thorns, a daily ritual that President Obama's family practiced to categorize and prioritize the events of their daily life around the dinner table. Since that day I have had my family use this as a spring board for dinner conversation.
When it first began the girls, I have three under 10 years of age, would say things like "My rose was I got candy today." "My teacher said she liked my shirt." Or "you made my favorite dinner." Tangible things are age appropriate for my girls and since they always are bursting to share I let them go first. As the years have passed they listen to my roses and thorns a little bit more than they used to. I have shared thorns like: not getting to park in the school parking lot and feeling anxious about being late, missing an opportunity to hug them in the morning, and hearing my daughter insult someone and wondering why. On the flip side I also tried to always make my roses about family and showing others justice and kindness. I had no idea if my modeling was working, the same things were being shared.
Roses this past week:
Minecraft castle built
Found puppy when he was lost
Extra TV time
Watched Big Hero 6 again
Didn't have to take a bath (yes a 4 year old celebrated this in my house this week!)
Grace's rose today didn't come at the dinner table, it came in a quiet moment we had after long division, showers, and bedtime stories. She looked at me and started to tell a story about a boy in her class. She talks about him often, he sits alone, he picks his nose, people talk about him and she doesn't know why. Today was a bit different, the story began with "So I asked Owen to sit at the end of our table at lunch today because he likes the Origami Yoda books like I do and he is totally into Star Wars, I knew the other kids would like that. At the end of lunch mom he smiled...he doesn't do that too often...I think that's my rose. It was pretty cool." It is pretty cool, we both have the same rose today. Totally different reasons but the same rose all the same.