Several years ago my husband and I went on a trip, and the children stayed with my parents. When we returned my mother told me they had been doing “roses and thorns of the day” with the children every night.
Of course I was intrigued! “What in the world is that,” I asked?
Well, let me tell you, it has been a gift to our family for a number of years, so much so that I want to share this little communication jewel with you!
Roses of the day are the things that happened that day that were good.
They are the high points of the day. Things you want to recognize and celebrate or be grateful for.
The thorns are the things that were not-so-good.
Much like a real thorn, they are prickly and they hurt.
As we have used this with our children, my husband and I have been AH-MAZED at how much our children have shared with us.
It is a way to step into their thoughts, their ideas and their world.
We also join in and share our roses and thorns as well. It is important to model this for them, because sometimes kids think we adults have it all together, or never make mistakes, and that is simply not the case!
So, when we open up and share, it prompts them to want to do so as well.
It’s like communication magic!!
Sharing Roses and Thorns of the Day — my 7 ways to create communication magic with your family!
1. no wrong answers – some days there may be no roses or no thorns. Just go with it, and know there is absolutely….
2. no judgment – a thorn to one person may be perceived as something ridiculous to another. Those opinions must be kept quiet, because as soon as one feels condemned or judged, the person sharing will often shut down.
I know there have been many times that I have thought, not vocalized, that what has upset them is such a small problem in the “grand scheme of things”, but I do not dare say a word, because what they often start with is not what the real problem is, which makes it super cool!
3. no age limit – this is a wonderful tool for folks young and old!
4. everyone listens patiently as each person talks/shares. There is no interrupting each other.
This is an important rule because sometimes it takes a minute to formulate what you are trying to say, especially if this is a new exercise you are practicing!
5. most importantly, the adult listening MUST put on his/her best “poker face” because once the kids get comfortable sharing, you never know what will come out of their mouths!!!
Seriously. But it’s all good stuff man. You definitely want them talking to you and learning from you, and not learning these things or sharing their problems on the playground or cafeteria. At least for us, that seems to be where the excitement is!! Whew! 🙂
6. Be patient in the beginning as the children decide whether or not it is “safe” to share openly.
This can be a little tricky for them because the may not trust the process and they often may not trust that it is ok to share the little and not-so-little things. Patience is key my friend 🙂
7. In our family, we often pray after we share our Roses & Thorns and take the opportunity to thank God for our roses and pray for our thorns.
A verse we often talk about with our children and each other in regard to our thorns is Isaiah 41:10. It talks about how we are not to fear and to know that God is strengthening us and holding us up!
A motto that I have adopted and believe in regard to my children, my husband and with other’s behavior is to be “forever curious,” or as Tina Bryson, PhD says “chase the why” of their behavior.
I also love Stephen R. Covey’s 5th habit of his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
He says to “seek first to understand , then to be understood.” LOVE THIS!
He goes on to say that communication is the most important skill in life. I do agree Mr. Covey!
Seeking to understand is definitely the ticket for communicating effectively with one another!. That is just what sharing these things with one another can do for you and your family.
Like I said before…it’s like communication magic!!!
So here is my most recent success story. It’s super cool:
One night, not too long ago we were sitting together and began sharing our roses and thorns of the day.
ONE HOUR LATER, did you hear that (and waaay past bedtime, which was totally fine), we were still in a deep conversation with our kids about a couple of situations that had occurred that day that had really upset them both.
My husband and I were in awe of how much information they had shared with us.
It was wonderful because they both had a chance to share, without judgement, troubling situations that may not have been expressed otherwise. It was beautiful. They talked nonstop, both of them, about these problems.
The following night at dinner, they both said that our talk we had was a great way to “let it all out, decompress and get those things off their chest and that it felt really good.”
Those are their words, not mine. Is that not the coolest thing ever????
Not too long after that little chat session with the children, I ran into a woman who told me her daughter had transferred schools because she was bullied.
As a result, the child was really suffering from low self-esteem. I asked the mom if her daughter talked to her at all about these situations, and the feelings she had about being bullied.
The mom said she did some, but was very guarded.
I proceeded to tell her about roses and thorns of the day. Twenty or so minutes later, that mother was ready to roll!
I encouraged her to share her roses and thorns as well, and to be patient because her daughter may not be comfortable initially sharing anything at all.
Okay, so clearly I could go on and on about this, but for now I want to challenge you and encourage you to begin this TODAY.
This is wonderful and highly effective tool to use, not just with children, but with your spouse or a significant other.
It enables you to look at your problems and joys in a different light, and share them in a way that you might not have done otherwise.
So go for it, and let me know how your work at “communication magic” sharing the Roses and Thorns of the Day with your family works out.
I love to hear your stories and want to be a part of your journey of tuning up your ways of communicating with those closest to you!!
Let’s share in the comments or hit me up on Facebook. 🙂
here’s to our roses and thorns,