Forcing A Kid To Be Oprah-Like

I had just returned from a week of yoga and mediation at Kripalu in the Berkshires and feeling limber and clear-headed.

“New family rule!” I announced to Savannah, my 8-year-old, at breakfast. “From now on Friday is gonna be our ‘Family Gratitude and Appreciation Dinner.’”

“Family?” she said, scrunching her face, shocked that we could share the same DNA. “Yea, for now on at Friday dinner we’ll share a couple things we appreciate in our lives and some good deed we either observed or did ourselves,” I explained.

I snatched the idea from Harvard professor Tal Ben-Shahar. An expert on positive psychology, he has conducted extensive research on the topic and written several books, including, Being HappyHappier and Happier Now. He had spoken extensively at Kripalu about the benefits of gratitude and appreciation.

“I’m not gonna do it,” she said picking at her cheese and refusing to look at me when she spoke.

She clearly didn’t get it. This is something Oprah or Deepak Chopra would do. She needed to be more positive. Damnit!

What should have been a nice morning felt like a terrorist negotiation as Savannah proceeded to argue and mock my idea.  Any dreams I had of being a Tony Robbins-type mom who inspires good grades, productivity, social responsibility and, if all goes well, a Wimbledon Champ or a Nobel Prize winner were  gone.

“I’ll ONLY do it if I can choose the restaurant where we eat!” she announced.

All I could think is something I once read: “Never negotiate with terrorists.”

“We’ll see.”

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