A couple of years ago, my family began a tradition of highlighting Three Good Things around the dinner table while we ate. We take turns going around the table and identifying one positive experience that occurred during the day, making three rounds so that everyone gets to share a total of three. Usually, this is prompted by my seven-year old but often my three-year old is the firestarter.
“Momma, what is your first favorite thing?” my son asks, cocking his curly blonde head to one side and staring into my soul with his baby blues. Usually by this time his fingers are coated in something sticky and unidentifiable, remnants smeared across his chin and cheeks. It is an innocent, yet powerful question.
For those less familiar with positive psychology research, Three Good Things is a positive psychology practice that is linked with extended happiness. Research supports that people who identify three good things daily for two weeks experience elevated levels of happiness for months following. More to come on this practice in a later post.
Yesterday, this would have been my first good thing: Five ears of sweet corn.
Let me explain. You see, we moved into our current home a few months ago at the beginning of summer so cleaning and sorting our garage was a low priority. Minnesota winters being what they are, making space in the garage for one or both of our vehicles was becoming a priority. Yesterday on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year, we decided to tackle this project.
As we cleaned, we identified items that we no longer needed or used–and as is the protocol for this area, we carried those items to the curb in front of our house and posted a Curb alert! post on our town’s giveaway social media group, The Grace Exchange. Not two minutes after posting, a vehicle pulled up and an older couple got out. They spotted their treasure which led to a couple of unexpected finds and the couple headed back to their vehicle. I joked with them, “Are you sure you don’t want a baby gate? Or maybe a random assortment of old golf clubs?” They politely declined. I thanked them for helping me to clean out my garage. They laughed and told them they were glad they could help. Then came the unexpected counter:
“Can we share some sweet corn with you?”
I started to decline, then caught myself. They were grateful for the items that they had received and wanted to give back. I nodded and thanked them.
“Will six be enough?” they said.
“Oh, it’s just four of us and two are very little, so we wouldn’t take any more than three.” I responded quickly.
They handed me five.
I accepted and we smiled at each other, locked for a split second in a precious moment of shared humanity before the spell was broken and they loaded into their vehicle and drove away. The entire interaction took less than a minute, but in that time the human connection we made felt so good that it became my first favorite thing for the day. It got me thinking.
What if we took time to truly connect with one another routinely in these casual interactions? How much more connected would we feel?
How am I making a positive connection today?
The story reminds me of a TED Talk (Drew Dudley – Redefining Leadership) that I came across in my travels talking about “lollipop moments”. Take 6-minutes to watch the full video, at this link.
A day later, I’m still thinking about the sweet corn couple, the simple interaction we shared, and the joy that it brought to me. Again, it’s got me thinking.
How can I have more of these connections?
What can I do today to break the pattern of routines and meaningfully connect with a stranger?
Could I be creating a “lollipop moment” for someone else right now?
I challenge you to do the same. We might just find a moment of joy in our daily routines.