P7150757Mad sad glad is a little game we play at supper time once or twice a week. It’s a gem I learned from Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott’s Parenting the Early Years. And it’s not just for preschoolers.

It’s as the name says. You take turns as you go around the table and everyone shares what made them mad, sad and glad that day. Let’s face it. We all can think of something for each category – little ones, older children, even us adults. And it is always good to end with the glad.

Honestly, this helps us get beyond the sit down, chew with your mouth closed, lean over and eat your peas commands. The game also gets everyone talking, allowing us parents to help the children to work through some emotions we each face daily. Reflect on the day. We might even remember something we’d already dismissed in our minds.

Sometimes Daddy and I arbitrate the continuation of a sibling squabble. I’d rather handle it then, helping children to work out disagreements Biblically, than to allow something to go unsettled. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Ephesians 4:26 (The Brother Offended Checklist)

Sometimes the children ask to play mad sad glad as we are riding in the car or tucking in at bedtime. It’s a good opener for all kinds of discussion. Maybe there was something awful that happened in the news. As homeschoolers, fortunately, our children are somewhat sheltered from the world. But we want them to know the evils that exist. We want them to be in the world but not of the world. There will be failures. People will disappoint us. We want to educate them on how to handle something hard. Why does so and so happen? Well, ultimately because there is sin in this imperfect world. Yet we can find comfort in the fact that God has the whole world in His hands. And we know He wins in the end.

So, the mad sad glad game has served us well. It helps us to slow down and talk at suppertime. Gives us a chance to work through situations. I guess you’d say we’re building the habit of communication.

from the 2008 archives