Ups and Downs

“Mom! You’re going to love my ups for the day,” my 10 year old boy announced as he bounded into my classroom after school.

“Oh really?” I asked, remembering the grumpy face as he picked off the edges of his pop-tart this morning.

“Yes,” raising his fingers to count off, “In band we started playing snare, my team won the game in PE and we had bread bowls for lunch.” As my enthusiastic boy finally took a breath I inwardly thanked God for working out a way to teach my children to look for the good in the day.

We need the ability to look at all of the circumstances of our everyday and find something good in it. If this doesn’t come easy for us as adults, how is it going to ever be easy for our kids? Here’s what helped our family learn how to look for the positive even when we have had a difficult day.

We started playing the “Thumbs Down and Thumbs Up” game. I learned it from some good friends of mine one night when they were talking with their boys. Every day we ask our boys to tell us something positive that happened to them that day. We also ask for something bad or disappointing that happened.

Since we have been doing this for several years, it has gotten easier for my boys to have positive things they can reflect on. Now it’s turned into “3 Ups and a Down.” What are 3 positive things that happened in your day, and what is 1 rough thing that happened today?

The key is to do this consistently, and remember we are teaching them how to change their focus. I enjoy it the most over the dinner table. It helps us to stop and listen to our kids’ day, and helps our kids connect with us, the most influential people in their lives. It starts conversations. Sometimes (lately a lot of times) dinner is quick and on the move, so we may do it in the car on the way home from basketball practice or around bedtime, but the routine is set. They expect it and even look forward to it!

When we take the time to focus on the blessings in our day it becomes easier to stop and see God working.

It becomes easier to connect with each other as family.

It becomes easier to thank God.

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