A Rose and A Thorn

Until the pandemic hit us, it was quite the challenge to get our family of four to sit down together for dinner every night. Our schedules were never in sync. After-school activities typically end around 6:30-7:30 pm. Sometimes, even later. Most nights, we would fend for ourselves and then head off to do homework, answer e-mails and whatnot.

As a parent, I always felt a twinge of guilt about this. Lots of parenting articles point to regular family dinners as the answer to raising well-rounded children who succeed academically, possess high self-esteem and are at a lower risk of alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders and teen pregnancy.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on a mother trying to make dinner.

But I tried my best, and I’m proud to say that even without our crazy schedules my kids are kind, responsible, intelligent and well-rounded. They pretty much rock.

When we do eat as a family, our tradition is to go around the table and ask everyone to give a rose and a thorn. The rose represents something good that happened that day or something that made them happy. The thorn is for anything that didn’t go well or a challenge they were facing at school or with their friends. And even when we couldn’t all sit down together to eat; I’d still ask them to give a rose and a thorn on the way to swim practice or dance class.

Now that we are under quarantine, I am making up for lost time. I’m cooking up a storm every day for family dinners and the roses and thorns are flying.

Rose – “I don’t have the coronavirus”

Thorn – “I hate online learning.”

Rose – “I get to hang out with my dog all day.”

Thorn – “I can’t hang out with my friends.”

Rose – “Thank goodness for FaceTime.”

Thorn – “May is a long time away.”

While there are a lot of thorns to talk about these days, the roses are what keep me going. I have a full bouquet when I wake up every morning and I am incredibly grateful.

3 comments on A Rose and A Thorn

  1. Julie JordanScott
    April 12, 2020 at 9:37 pm (1 year ago)

    This is a fantastic tradition. I may start using it with my family. 🙂

  2. Robert Krantweiss
    April 13, 2020 at 2:06 pm (1 year ago)


  3. Paul Taubman
    April 13, 2020 at 11:57 pm (1 year ago)

    It seems, as I recall, growing up dinnertime was rather late – sometimes 8 pm. I always thought it was late, but my dad would come home from work later than other dads. As a result, we ate later!

    Dinners were family time – and we would often sit around after we finished eating and talk and talk and talk. SOmeimte too long for a young kid 🙂


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