As any parent knows, meaningful conversations with your children are incredibly important. I happen to believe that just about any conversation with your kiddos counts as “meaningful,” but there are definitely times when you want to solicit actual information on a particular topic, and that isn’t always as easy. Once your kids start doing things without you – school, activities, hanging out with friends – you want to hear about it. Sometimes that requires a little direction.

“How was your day,” so often elicits little more than “fine” unless there’s some particular event that they really want to tell you about – and if that’s the case, you probably didn’t have to ask. So I’ve heard lots of advice on more specific questions to ask. If you keep up with this regularly and know what’s going on in your kids’ lives it gets easier to do that, but there are always times where we want to know more, but lack a good idea for a conversation starter.

Today in a conversation with my team at work, my boss presented a fantastic question. She asked us all “what surprised you this week?”

My first answer: that question!

I love it. It’s not only a good conversation starter, but it really helps you focus on aspects of your life that maybe you don’t on a regular basis. Most people don’t try to be surprised – quite the opposite, in fact. But unexpected events can trigger all sorts of growth and opportunities, and that’s a great thing to have more of.

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