Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Perfectly Practical #75 - Highs & Lows

Anyone ever seen the movie with Bruce Willis & Michelle Pfeiffer called "The Story of Us"? (raising hand)  I'm sure that neither Rob Reiner nor I had any idea that a scene from his movie would impact our little family for years to come.

I don't remember whether I liked the film or not but there was one thing that stuck with me when it was through - they said their "highs & lows" at the dinner table.

Diva was still very young at the time but I knew even then that I wanted that to be a regular occurrence in our household.  Thus began our tradition of highs and lows at the table. 

If you are trying to dip your toe in the water with the whole family dinner concept but are concerned about sitting in silence, highs and lows are a great place to start.  To some, the idea of needing a nudge at all in order to converse with your kiddos might be absurd but I don't think so.  I know plenty of teenagers who answer most questions with a grunt and a shrug and little ones who need some guidelines to reign in the "and then..."s.  Even parents need a little push after a long day to speak at all sometimes.

How it works in The Little Pink House:

  • Everybody takes turns saying their high and low for the day.
  • Each person gets one high and one low.
  • You have to have a high and a low.
  • No one else can pick your high or low for you.
  • No one can disagree with your high or low.
  • Duplicate highs and/or lows are permissible. 

For our Neighborhood Dinners, Super Mom* actually wrote up the rules so that they can be seen and observed by the diners.  (Yes, we are this nerdy and Super Mom is that Type A.  Did you doubt?)

Why this is a good system:

1.  If nothing else is said throughout the entire meal, you know exactly what has had the most impact - good and bad - on each individual family member that day.

2.  Conversation comes naturally after the ice is broken.

3.  It is a gateway to ask questions and get answers without prying into your child's life.

4.  Many times children (and adults) don't talk about events that have affected them because there is no safe place to air their laundry so to speak.  This creates that safe place.

5.  Your child and maybe even your spouse need you to listen to them and not just hear them.  In the book The Hour That Matters Most, the authors state, "Hearing is passive.  Listening is active."  That is so true. 

I asked Diva why she thought that family dinners at the tables were important and she said, "Because we talk, share our highs and lows, and..." (her voice trailed a bit) ..."we get classier food at the table."

Who can argue with that?

This is the second in a series about Family Suppertime.  Here is the first:

Perfectly Practical #74 - Dinner Together at the Table


*Did you see this picture of Super Mom?  I love it!

If you have any questions that you would like me to address in this series please write to me at parymoppins (at) ymail (dot) com and I will do my best to answer them.

This is part of We Are That Family's Works for Me Wednesday.

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