We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

Roses and thorns

We Fours have a new tradition-in-the-making, inspired by the Obama family.

A few weeks ago, listening to Slate’s Political Gabfest podcast, I learned that each night the Obamas individually share a rose, something good, and a thorn, something difficult, from their day. (For more information, the Washington Post mentioned it here.)

Mr. Four, Bug, Giggle, and I have dinner together at home usually at least four nights a week, and often more (though sometimes we eat dinner at our club on the weekends). But the boys often acted silly through much of dinner, and while I tried to engage the boys about their day at school, I wasn’t always successful.

But now we’ve started our own roses and thorns, and it’s going great. In fact, the boys remember it at dinner before I do. Bug even wanted to talk roses and thorns at breakfast this morning.

It’s a great way to have some structured conversation, and I’m learning a lot more about what the boys are up to at school. Thorns often focus on difficulty with a friend. (In Bug’s renditions, usually his entire school is in time out except for him and his best buddy B.)

Mr. Four and I usually talk about work stuff, and I think this could be a good way for the boys to learn more about adult life.

And, I realized as I writing this, the boys’ dinner table behavior is much better now that they have something to talk about and share.

I’ve been wanting us to have some family traditions, and so far this is a great one.


20 March 2009 - Posted by | bug, family, giggle, in the news, our life in egypt, parenting, school


  1. Hey there,
    I just wanted to let you know that I have a friend in the US who writes Christian fiction.. and she has created a list of 150 conversation starters, which can be used around the dining table to generate conversation. Here’s the link: http://www.marydemuth.com/speaking.php?view=freestuff
    I’ve used them while teaching and really appreciate them.
    hugs to you all,

    Comment by Robyn | 20 March 2009

  2. What an excellent idea. I need to do that with the kids during their nightly phone calls with daddy. Astrid starts every conversation with, “Hi Daddy. I cied a yot.” She never really explains why she was crying, just lets him know that something made her very 2 year old self momentarily unhappy.

    We’ll work on roses and thorns and report back!

    Comment by paige | 20 March 2009

  3. Great tradition! Years ago I started a tradition with my children around the dinner table – we called it “mitzvah” or “good deed.” It has been an amazing tradition that really opened up our dinner table to a lot of discussions. If a child could not think of a mitzvah, then we all helped out coming up with kindnesses that the child had shown one of us during the day. Talk about affirmation! The best part, though, was how much we learned about how doing a good deed for another turned out to be the greatest self kindness. We’ve been thinking about starting up a new family tradition with our Blueberry and this one might just fit the bill. Thank you!

    Comment by Meghan | 20 March 2009

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