“30 Questions to Ask Your Kid Instead of “How Was Your Day?””
“That question actually sucks. Far from a conversation starter, it’s uninspired, overwhelmingly open ended, and frankly, completely boring. So as an alternative, I’ve compiled a list of questions that my kid will answer with more than a single word or grunt.”
When I picked my son up from his first day of 4th grade, my usual (enthusiastically delivered) question of “how was your day?” was met with…medium.com
!! I’ve never been able to answer “how was your day”. If you are a person who can answer this question (and I almost feel like it’s a neurological difference, people who can and people who can’t) imagine if someone has come up and asked “Like, how are some birds?”. Is your brain simultaneously blank and also overwhelmed by how big that question is?
I experience the question as “characterize the nature of your life in a brief, chatty, conversational sentence”. I know that people want to hear “good!” followed by a brief story that affirms the positive nature of my day while also reaffirming what the question asker understands about me. And I can never really come up with all of that.
Because how was my day? Like, usually, it has good and bad things and neutral or nuanced things and stuff I want to share and stuff I don’t and stuff that’s really boring that would bore me to talk about. It feels false to ignore the negative aspects of my day, an invitation to develop a simplified perception of me, but I probably don’t want to bring other people down with my negatives or even necessarily reveal them. And even if I did, how can I summarize all of that in an interesting, coherent narrative in the next 10 micro-seconds?
Gosh this question stresses me out. I usually just say “fine”, but I noticed that sometimes people seem hurt when I don’t add anything else, and that’s when I started over-thinking it.
Some people seem to have a magical ability to negotiate with this question and I’m always a little in awe. And then it seems like some people have a need to tell someone their day, every day, in great detail and conversations with these people terrify me most of all.
So, in conclusion, I would much prefer being asked some version of the questions this mom cane up with.