Thanksgiving: Why I’m Thankful For The Reset Button

I’m not sure what vortex I fall into between the hours of 2:30 and 7:30 pm because I continuously feel like I “lose” these hours of the day!

My family and I are on the go from the instant I pick my youngest up from school to the moment I kiss their cheeks as I tuck them into bed. Soccer practices, grocery shopping, close of business emails, FRG meetings, trying to prepare some sort of a healthy dinner…the list goes on and on.

It doesn’t seem to matter how empty or full our schedule for the afternoon is, those hours always seem to disappear.

I accepted this as status quo until my youngest started full day Pre-K at which time I suddenly became aware that these five hours were really the only hours that I had with them.

My children were out in the world for more time than in my home, which was a very frightening thought! I didn’t want to stop them from participating in the activities they loved or cancel all of their play dates, but I did want to maximize the time I did have with them.

I wanted to be more strategic about our interactions to ensure that I was connecting with them and equipping them as they faced challenging situations. In other words, I yearned for a “reset button.”

After some experimentation and inspiration from Paulo Coelho and Heather McCray we implemented the “Three Good Things” exercise, TGT for short because you know we LOVE our acronyms in the Army!

TGT is an interactive discussion that helps us recap our day, share victories, relive good memories and express gratitude for things in our lives. It is very simple and works well for children of all ages, even as young as 2-3. Each person takes a turn telling the family (or group) about three good things that happened that day.

It can be anything from whom they played with at recess to having a successful meeting with a client. We encourage our children to choose something different each day after our four year old proclaimed playing Power Rangers, eating snack, and seeing Mommy were his TGT for 33 days, even during the times I was out of town for business!

It is also important to note that the TGT “reset button” exercise described above is meant to be a conversation starter, not a short, bulleted list.

Be sure to ask follow up questions that elicit detail-rich stories! These are priceless nuggets of information about who the important people are in your families’ lives and what makes them happy. Don’t worry about having everyone seated around a traditional dining room table with fancy napkins and a perfectly cooked organic chicken to begin TGT. The beauty of this activity is that it can be done anywhere (yes, we have recounted the days events over many Chick-Fil-A nuggets going 70 mph down a highway on the way to an FRG town hall) and with any number of participants.

You better believe that guests in our house get to join in on the fun!

I can honestly say that this “reset button” has transformed our dinner table from a place where food was inhaled (I have growing boys and an active husband after all) to a time for us to connect and learn about our respective days. Additionally, with the frequent moves, deployments and long hours experienced in Military life, TGT’s helps provide just a little more stability when everything else is chaotic.