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The three questions you should ask your family every day

Like most families, we keep a packed schedule and don’t get to spend as much quality time together as we like. Despite spending our evenings spread out among various rec centers and the community college, we always make time to share a meal or at least a conversation as a family. After prayers, one of us initiates the “3 Questions” sequence and each person responds. The questions are as follows:

  1. What is something funny that happened to you or that you heard today?
  2. What did you learn today?
  3. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

Each question serves at least one purpose.

Question 1 is a reminder that there is usually something to smile about at the end of the day. Even on a bad day, a funny story from the school cafeteria or even Facebook can elicit a laugh.  This is also a great way to begin and/or perpetuate family jokes…like the contagious “pizza in the mailbox” joke that my three-year-old started. (I still don’t get it, but I crack up every time!)

Question 2 is a way of educating each other with knowledge gained that day. Children can share what they learned at school and parents show that they are lifelong learners. Sometimes it’s a refresher on U.S. presidents courtesy of my fifth grader and other times it’s a life lesson, like “always eat before you go to a car dealership.” 

Question 3 helps us find out what motivates each member of our family. As parents, this is a crucial part of helping our kids pursue their dreams and, okay, let’s admit it, an effective tool to use to get them to do household chores. When parents share the things that make our jobs exciting, we are showing our kids how important it is to find meaningful work that we (for the most part) enjoy. Kids, in turn, remind us to be happy about simple things, like pajama day (although, that would be nice for grown-ups to have this time of year).

Of course, there are other questions that you could ask, but these are three that tap into our family’s values and are easy enough for our three-year-old to understand. As our children grow, so will the questions. 

For the most part, we ask the questions at dinner, but when our schedules get hectic, we can ask them in the car or before bed. You could perhaps ask them in the morning if that works better for your family, but our house looks like the McCallisters’ leaving for the airport in Home Alone before we start our day.    

Take some time to ask your family these three questions today. You may have a laugh and learn a thing or two about life and the people you share it with.