He rushed to my car. Something seemed off with his spirit.
“Are you OK, buddy?” I asked.
Cooper reached my car and said, “I didn’t really have a great day.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” he said.
*This is the part in the blog where I tell you that he gets that from his dad.
“Well, I understand that,” I said. “Can I ask you something else instead?”
“Sure,” he said.
“Well, what brought you joy today?” I asked.
“I guess I smiled when Nora smiled at me today,” he said.
“That’s good!” I said. “Nora has a beautiful smile – and she is your best friend! I always love it when my best friend smiles at me too!”
Finally, a real smile.
“What else made you smile today?” I asked.
“Well, I liked playing outside,” he said. “And you packed me a rice crispy treat. I loved your note today too – that was funny!”
Soon enough, he was smiling and his spirit returned.
“I love all of this, Coop,” I said. “Do you want to talk about what challenged you today now?”
“Well, no one wanted to play with me today,” he said. “And that made me sad.”
Those car-ride conversations home from school are magical. In those 10 minutes, I capture so much of my son’s day, mood, and growth. And that’s when we developed this habit of spending those 10-minutes answering these two questions:
- What brought you joy today?
- What challenged you today?
- Is there anything else you want to talk to me about?
Right now, we don’t have that car ride. We don’t have that 10-minutes together where the world isn’t interrupting us. No distractions or devices.
So, we have to make time for those questions. And I will tell you why this is important. Once this conversation became a routine, Cooper knew they were coming. So, he could spend his day looking for joy. He would see any challenge as an opportunity to grow and talk through it. And I would do the same.
“What you focus on grows.” – a wise quote from someone wise
Right now, more than ever – we need to be creating those joy lists. I have a “Moments of Joy” list on the Notes app of my phone. I do my best to capture small moments that made me smile or feel joy. In another folder, I have “Worry List” where I capture everything that made me worry.
The good news? The joy moments always make me smile.
The even better news? The moments that made me worry either
1) never ended up happening
2) they happened, but I figured out how to solve the problem
I know this time right now is disruptive. I know there is massive amounts of uncertainty. I know lives are being changed. I know business owners are making decisions they’ve NEVER dreamed of making. I don’t have the answers. I just have the tools that have worked for me, so I thought I would share them with you today.
What made me smile yesterday? Lauralee dropped this off in my mailbox. This bag was filled with candy for Cooper. She has a tremendous amount of personal stress and worry in her life right now – and that doesn’t include the fear of what this will do for her business. What did she do instead? She spent the day making packages like this and passing around joy and love to people in her life and on her team. She created a “remote worker” care packages too. This sweet gesture brought happy tears to my life.
This package was even more special to me because of my love for rainbows. The day I got the phone call that my sister was in a terrible accident, I looked in the sky and saw a rainbow. As my dad was bawling and telling me she was paralyzed, I saw a rainbow in the field. He hung up the phone telling me that she was going into surgery and asked if I could call everyone to tell them the news. I found strength in the rainbow.
A few days later, I was driving to Fort Wayne to see her in the hospital. Tears were streaming down my face. Everything was heavy. My heart was broken into a million pieces. I was devastated. And I saw a rainbow. A sign of hope for my sister. A sign that even after a devastating storm, there is love and light ahead.
I hope you find your rainbow day, my darling. Make sure you’re looking for one – that’s the only way you find them.
I love you. I believe in you. I can’t wait to hug you when we are out of isolation.