About 6 months ago, my then 3-year old surprised my husband and I. We had just sat down to dinner and finished our prayer. Out of the blue she looked at Daniel and said, “So Papa, how was your day?”
This question seemed so insightful for such a little girl! He began to answer and with each statement she asked more detail. That day he had worked at his part-time job doing modifications to off-road vehicles. She wanted to know the colors of the vehicles, how big the lift kit was, and if the customers were happy. By the end of the conversation, we were so impressed with her interest in the seemingly pointless details of every aspect of his day. He then looked at her and asked, “So Ava, how was your day?” And just like her, he asked every tiny seemingly pointless detail. What was her favorite part, least favorite part, the food she ate, and what clothes she picked to wear. She was excited to share how I allowed her to help scramble eggs for breakfast that morning! Since our one-year old obviously cannot answer these questions, he asked Ava, “And what did Emmeline do today?” With the same enthusiasm, she told all of Em’s activities, dirty diapers and all! We saw each family members day from a new prospective…from their eyes.
Since that night we have made it a ritual to ask each person at the table about his or her day. This invitation even extends to family and friends who may be eating with us. We take interest in every detail. Daniel now takes pictures of the vehicles he works on to show us and we show him pictures of our activities. When he is at the fire station, we still discuss our day as we FaceTime before bed, with Ava taking great concern in making sure he helped everyone who needed it!
What started off as a fun conversation has turned into so much more. It has become a time of bonding and understanding between us. I have learned of things I may have done during the day that upset Ava, which I never knew I did. Daniel has been able to vent his frustrations from work in a simple child friendly way but one that still offered him peace. I have talked about how exhausted I am with all the mommy chores, which helped my family see areas they could help a little more. When she first asked the question, we didn’t see or realize the major impact it would have on our family. It allows us to pause from our own thoughts and walk in someone else’s shoes. We have learned compassion, honesty, support, charity, unity, and love. We have created an open dialog of sharing amongst our children that will hopefully continue long into the future. One simple question asked by a curious 3 year-old has now created a family tradition that will continue for years to come.