Parenting

What’s the best thing that happened today?

Mohit Sawhney
3 to 7 years

Created by Mohit Sawhney
Updated on Jun 29, 2016

Whats the best thing that happened today

Years ago, Subhash Chandra Bose had asked the country’s youth, “Tum Mujhe Khoon Do, Mein Tumhe Aazadi Doonga!”  Our next generation is asking it again but in a different context, “Tum Mujhe Phone Do, Mein Tumhe Aazadi Doonga!” It seems we are missing the much needed connect with our children. Is there a way out?

 A Day in My Life

As I entered the living room, I felt drained of energy. Only so much of it left to let myself fall on the couch. Then, something changed, a jolt of adrenaline rush in me. It was a feeling of being needed, wanted. My seven-year-old son, Tanav came toward me full of excitement. “It must be because I was home after a long day’s work and he’d been waiting to see me”, I thought. I was wrong! He had been waiting for me, but not to see me. He was waiting to have my phone so that he could play on it. As I handed my IPhone to Tanav, my energy levels plummeted once again, to levels lower than even before. Tanav started playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. The name says it all – this game to which Tanav is hooked, is full of violence, blood and profanities. However, I was left with no energy to stop him. Moreover, he was unstoppable now and beyond any reasoning or talking.

Years ago, Subhash Chandra Bose had asked the country’s youth, “Tum Mujhe Khoon Do, Mein Tumhe Aazadi Doonga!” (You give me blood, and I promise you freedom). Our next generation the same again but in a different context, “Tum Mujhe Phone Do, Mein Tumhe Aazadi Doonga!”  (You give me your phone, and I promise you freedom.)

So, I traded my phone for my freedom. Deepti, my wife, looked tired too - working at home and managing the house can take a toll on you. As Deepti handed me a cup of tea, I wondered: “Can this be made better somehow?”

Back to the phone story. Soon, I realized that if I let this pattern go on, and on, things will soon go out of control. I will lose a much needed connect with my children. I do need to get into action now to do something about it.

Don’t tell children what they shouldn’t do, but what they should.

I had been mostly telling children what not to do. Don’t play with the phone. Don’t watch so much TV. Don’t fight. Don’t do this and don’t do that. What we didn’t even know is what they should be doing! We hadn’t even taken the time to figure out. Children often asked this question, "What should I do now?" I didn’t once have a convincing answer for them.

Family Rituals

That’s when I figured that there was one thing all families which bonded well did: Follow  Family Rituals. Some fun family rituals, could make our days more fulfilling. Each family member would look forward to this time together. It would even provide a secure environment for family members to share their innermost feelings. And yes, it doesn’t require all the time in the world and so DEWK- Dually Employed with Kids - can do it too! Recurring things such as: Prayer time with family, a hug in the morning, a chat before meals, or even just having the dinner together is all that is needed.

We've started a ritual before dinner time where each member is asked - "What is the best thing that happened today?" It’s not easy to start a new family ritual though, but it's so worth it at the end. But was it easy?  No! Just to bring everybody together at dinner time was an uphill task. It's only after a lot of perseverance that our family finally embraced it. No one was interested the first time I asked. Tanav’s response was, "There is nothing good that happened today, Dad! In fact everything was so bad that I can't remember anything good." I tried rephrasing the question, ".. and among all the bad things today, what was the one 'not-so-bad' thing?" But it didn't help either, "Stop irritating Dad. Can we talk about something else?" When I asked Mom, she bounced back as if I was ridiculing her life situation. "Nothing good happens in my life at all. Everything is so bad that I don't want to talk about it, please!"

The Best Thing Today

Change is hard. But we kept going. Imperfect progress, as Lysa Terkeust calls it. Yesterday, Sohana, my 3 year-old-daughter, asked Deepti, "Papa hasn’t asked the, ‘Best Thing Today!” Deepti said, "Yes, he hasn’t. Let’s ask Papa and do that now?" Mom also joined in, "Yes, of course, let's do that!" Tanav ordered, "Let's start from grown-ups today!" Dad, who is mostly engrossed in NEWS at the time, was okay for the TV to be switched off! No mean feat that is! Everyone happily shared a part of their day’s going-ons with everyone else. There were chuckles and laughs which will remain in our memories forever. It takes away the stress from our minds each time we do this little ritual. It gives us a reason to switch off the TV. It helps us ask the right question (Best Thing Today?), when it is so easy to get our heads busy with what’s going wrong. Most importantly, it brings our focus back on to what’s most important to us: a family bond. And it helps us in taking a few steps each day in that direction. Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results - Robin Sharma So, now I want to hear from you. What are your family rituals? If you liked this post, then show the love by sharing your comments and likes below.

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| Jan 10, 2017

We made a Family rule in 2016 beginning - "No Technology in the Bedroom. " Leave aside kids, even we thought it was impossible target. But now, we have come to a point where Tanav, my 8 year old son reminds me or my wife in case we forget. We seriously DON'T have any Technology (phones / TV / iPad / not even Fitbit) in the bedroom!

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| Sep 01, 2016

Good Article. Thanks.

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| Jun 30, 2016

Nice article with everyday n every household problem. I guess we are somewhere losing touch with our children due to excessive use or rather misuse of gadgets in our lives. We need to set examples everyday by distancing ourselves first. Truly said, things will not change in first attempt but perseverance will pay off well. Children are the best and first ones to notice and appreciate break from monotonous routine. Will definitely start off today itself!!

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