When my daughter was about two, and her bed was a little toddler bed and her room was less cluttered with toys and craft creations and a brother and a couple pet rats, when both of our lives were simpler, I started a tradition.
When I put her to bed, I always asked her “What do you want to remember about today?”
And we talked about the good stuff – little details of I can’t really remember anymore.
The last couple of days have been a little rough with my son, lots of asking him to do the same things over and over, lots of conversations about how you can’t punch someone (or pretend to hit them with your light saber), even when they say something that makes you mad.
I’ve been frustrated with him and he knows it.
So tonight I took a few extra minutes to lie down next to him on his bed and read The 10-Step Guide to Living with Your Monster and then we read it again, and talked about all the funny monster drawings.
And because I wanted to remember the good stuff today, I asked him our old question: “What was the best thing about today?”
I thought he might say making apple sauce with you mom or playing at the park with my friends, maybe even going to drama class.
But he said, “When dad talked to me about that stuff.”
Right after dinner, just before Kip had to leave to go to music practice, he sat our son down on the couch and talked to him about soccer.
He said something like, “I want you to know that I think you are a really good soccer player. You are one of the big kids, and if you want, I believe you can kick that ball all the way down the field.”
That is my translation because I was doing the dishes and not really paying that much attention, and I don’t speak soccer well. But I do know that Kip didn’t say “Why are you so timid? Why are you afraid of the ball?”
He just said something positive to effect of “I believe in you.”
Our son listened intently, nodding his head.
“I am a great soccer player,” he agreed.
And that was it, just a couple of minutes.
But words are powerful, especially daddy words. And that was our 7-year-old’s favorite moment today.