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October 13, 2011

High, Low, Surprise

When I think of the future, I look forward to the time when our family sits around the dinner table to talk about the day. In college, I learned a little game/reflection technique called “High, Low, Surprise,” that I hope we’ll use sometimes. It’s a pretty self-explanatory exercise; I’d only clarify that the three items can be related in any order and the surprise can be either good or bad.

Now, given, dinner conversation doesn’t always need to be so structured—and often probably shouldn’t be—but every once in a while, this is a fun way of thinking about the day as a whole.

If Jacob were at the point where he could speak intelligently about his day (not that this isn’t intelligent, it’s just . . . different), I imagine this is what he’d say about yesterday:

Hi, my name’s Jacob and I’d like to play. (In some HLS circles, this is how you begin.)

My high would be that I walked in and out of all three doors to our apartment on my way to and from the park. I could reach one of the doorknobs, too, but I couldn’t reach far enough to turn it. That’s okay; another day I will.

The surprise would be that when we got to the park, there was a park guy there cleaning it. So instead of playing for the first ten minutes or so, I sat on Mom’s lap and we watched him work with a leaf blower. It was loud, but so cool.

The low was that once I went to play I found some sticks. Okay, maybe that’s another high (YMM disclaimer: this is only allowed in extreme circumstances). The low was that Mom took them away just as I was about to go down the slide. After that, even though I had a whole clean playground to myself, I didn’t really want to play anymore. I did bring some leaves with me to the grocery store though, and that kind of made me feel better.

So there you have it. You can see that even if someone bends the rules (say, with three different highs), it’s still a good time. And it’s only going to get better once we know what Jacob really thinks.

  1. I like this idea, too. Great way to spark conversation around the family dinner table – much more creative than “how was your day?” It’ll be awhile before my toddler grasps the concept, but I’m going to file this one away.

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