What kind of conversations do you have with your kids after you’ve reached a bucket list goal? What does your “debriefing” look like?
Over Spring Break our family took a few bucket list adventures. Our eldest daughter spent three weeks on a school-sponsored exchange trip to Spain. The rest of us visited the LEGO Discovery Center for the first time. And I worked on a big project preparing for my next bucket list goal.
As much we enjoyed those adventures, we found the conversations we shared afterwards equally important. We heard stories about the differences between Chicago and the Spanish city of Santiago de Compastela. We talked about why we all agreed that it the LEGO trip would have been better for younger kids. And my family gave me feedback on my progress with my project. We had these conversations not just for the fun of swapping stories (which is a huge part of it), but also because we’ve learned that processing our experiences helps us to appreciate, and deepen, the value of them.
When it comes to bucket list goals in your family, I hope you take the time to talk about them when you have accomplished them. Here are some ways to make the most of your family’s post-adventure chats:
- Celebrate. Talk about how fortunate you were to be able to accomplish this particular goal. Ask your kids what made it the most memorable for them.
- Reflect. Encourage your family to think about their individual roles in the experience. What did they do that worked well? What would they have done differently? What would they suggest to someone else approaching the same experience for the first time?
- Applaud. Have family members exchange words of appreciation and affirmation. If it was a shared experience, ask each one to observe something positive they witnessed about another family member. As parents, share your positive observations.
- Extract. Point your children toward the growth aspects of the experience. Where did they exhibit new skills or build on character traits? Ask everyone to talk about what they felt they gained from the adventure.
- Commemorate. Discussing the adventure offers the perfect opportunity to seek your family’s input on how they want to mark the experience. Will you be putting together a photo collage? Or do you plan to display a souvenir? How might your family help you with these projects? Do they have ideas on how to observe or remember reaching that goal?
You may be surprised about what you learn from your kids during these conversations. Their perspective can be refreshing, and allowing them to process for themselves will internalize those experiences in significant ways.
Remember, it’s never too late to chat about the adventures you’ve taken. Make it the topic of your next family dinner and see where it leads!