Not a Bad Thing

dinnertimeReady, go – two good things and one bad thing. This little sentence has been our go-to dinnertime conversation starter since our oldest was in kindergarten. I spotted the phrase in the principal’s corner of the newsletter and adopted it immediately. Over the years it’s unearthed all sorts of information.

The question is perfect. It opens up more than the typical, “How was your day today?” #boring. And it’s better than “What did you do at school today?” #nothing. Did you honestly expect a different answer? It accepts the day might not have come up roses for everyone. Prompting for the bad thing allows for imperfection. It can’t all be good. I’ve had nights where I offered two bad things and searched deep for the one good thing.

Most of the time the answers are predictable. Good things are typically gym and recess and the bad thing is usually “my brother” which we make them do over and naturally changes to homework. Occasionally we get some answers that are more interesting like “we had a fire drill today” or heartbreaking like “I miss Ricky” after our puppy died. Some nights we all get a turn, but other nights we get engaged in someone’s answer and stay for a bit.

It’s been a while since we played and it’s always answered with eye-rolling and groans, the telltales of any family tradition worth keeping. They’ll reminisce about this when they get older. “Remember when Mom and Dad used to ask us two good things and one bad thing at the dinner table?” “Yeah, they always asked us and used to think it was so much fun.” (more eye-rolling) #parentsarelame.

These are the traditions that are memorable and make our dinners different from other families. We’ll be sure to embarrass them by asking this question when their friends are over for dinner. Because that’s what families do. They build traditions and welcome others into the fold. And while the kids may roll their eyes and think it’s bad, I’m listing it as a good thing.