Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pits and Cherries

Pits and Cherries

Here's a good one for the beginning of the school year.  At the end of the day, we at Moonlit Minds are about connecting parents with kids.  As parents we are dying to know more about our kids' lives, especially when we spend the days apart from them.  That's why the first question for many parents is usually "How was your day?"  But many of us can relate to this infamous response:  "Fine."  It can be incredibly frustrating to hear, and our instinct is often to press kids on it.  However, as Meghan Leahy reminds us, we need to give them "space and grace."

Space does not mean "leave them totally alone." Space means to give them enough physical and emotional space to decompress. Many of our little chickens are trying their darnedest to be "good" at school today...they don't need to be peppered by your questions. They are not responsible for filling your cup. Give them protein, hugs, and ease.

With that in mind, here's a fun game called "Pits and Cherries" to help reconnect with them at the end of the day, after everyone has had time to decompress.

How To Play

The idea is very simple.  Take turns telling each other about the pits and cherries of your day.

The pits are the worst parts of your day.  


The cherries are the best parts of your day.


Here are some of the pits from a day at our house this week:
  • I got 3 mosquito bites while we were playing outside!
  • I didn't like how they weren't letting me play so I had to go inside for a while.  I was really upset about it.
  • He spilled paint on my art project and it was ruined.

Here are some of the cherries from the same day:
  • We had a really fun play date.
  • We got to have ice cream.
  • When Daddy did that crazy dance.  It was so funny.

Pits and cherries can be a great way to express gratitude and to help kid deal with difficult emotions or experiences they have each day.

Don't Judge

One thing we try not to do is impose our own judgement about the kids' pits or cherries.  If a "pit" was sad for them, that's all there is to it!  We don't say things like, "Oh it wasn't that bad was it?"  Children should learn that it's OK to have bad days and that we don't need to be happy all the time.

Try practicing active listening so kids feel heard and validated.  Doing so may lead kids to talk more deeply about something that might be bothering them, to process an event from their day, or explore questions they have been wondering about.

Here's a great quote to end with from author Hugh Mackay that we thought was relevant for this topic:
“I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.”

Remember too, it's not just about us hearing their pits and cherries, but it's good for them to hear ours, to see us as human, with our own range of emotions. This will help not only connect us to them but also them to us.

Hopefully this will elicit some great conversations and provide a chance to learn more about each other.  Please leave a comment and tell us about your pits and cherries or just say hi!

Enjoy, and.... Mind the nap!

1 comment:

  1. Here's how we put the idea of "space and grace" into action: When I pick up my kiddo at school, the first thing I do is kneel down, give a big warm smile, and say, "I'm so happy to see you!" That's it. No pressure, no probing, no questions. Space and grace. We usually end up holding hands as we walk back to the car, and it's amazing - by the time we are getting into our seats for the ride home, my little one can't stop telling me about her day!