Contributed by The Family Dinner Project Team
This is a game designed to get kids comfortable with making and sharing mistakes. Nobody’s perfect!
Each person takes a turn in the “spotlight.” They stand up and proclaim, “Today I failed!” Then they share a brief story of either a real or made-up failure. For example, “Today I failed! I gave my Science homework to my English teacher and my English homework to my Science teacher!”
Once someone has shared their “failure” story, the rest of the people at the table shout, “Ta-Da!” and give them an enthusiastic round of applause. The storyteller takes a bow, acknowledges their fans, and then goes back to their seat.
The audience now guesses whether the “failure” was real or made up. The idea is that whether the mistake was real or imagined, it’s okay to admit it and share it with others, without receiving judgment for it. Parents: for this game to work well, you have to commit to not commenting on any real mistakes your kids share during the game. No follow-up questions, consequences or problem-solving on the spot. Just applaud and thank them for sharing!
If you feel you absolutely must follow up about anything you hear, choose a time later, away from the dinner table, and try an opening line like “Do you want any help with that homework situation?” or “I was wondering if you might be comfortable sharing more about that problem with your teacher.” The more kids feel they can trust you to hear about their missteps without a negative response, the more relaxed and open they’ll become about communicating with you in the future.