Most of my best parenting techniques came from movies and TV. I'm cool like that.
My favorite thing I do with the kids is Highs and Lows, something I stole from The Story of Us. This is one of my all-time favorite movies and the sole reason that eggrolls make me tear up. In any case, every night at dinner, I, like Bruce Willis and Michelle Pi-fiffer before me, ask the kids for their highs and lows, the best and worst things that happened to them that day.
It's a fascinating look at what makes them tick. Sometimes the littlest thing can be their best or worst. Of course, for Maren, it's pretty much the best and worst thing that happened in the last ten minutes, but it's still fun.
Once a TV show I can't remember, a mom shouted out the door to her kid on the way to school, "Learn something cool." I've adopted this also.
So, then it made sense to combine them.
So, now at dinner, we do Highs, Lows and Something Cool You Learned. It's lost some of the ring, but it's really neat having the kids report on what they've learned. It's also interesting to hear what they consider "cool."
What this means for me, of course, is that I have to come up with the same things. Which means that I've got to pay attention and make sure I'm learning something every day.
Which, you are thinking to yourself, is a good practice anyway. And you'd be right. It's still hard. I get a word of the day every day, but half the time I already know the word. And even when I don't, remembering at the dinner table is harder than it sounds.
And, you know, part of being good at a job is knowing a lot of it, so I don't learn something new at work every day. Sometimes I learn an interesting tidbit of gossip, but those aren't always appropriate to share with my kids. Sometimes they are - like who fought in what war or where someone used to live.
Today, I learned that Sutters Buttes is the smallest mountain range in the United States.