Did you have a nice day?

This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post is about how to teach hope in adversity, and other life lessons. For more info about my book Homemade Kids, with lots of ideas about parenting, click here

You can still find a video of my friend Ralph on YouTube, newly encased in hospital with a neck brace and broken back, singing, from Life of Brian the best of the songs – “Always look on the bright side of life,” It’s an amazing lesson in being positive. How did he learn to be so upbeat?

Actually I’m not sure how much of anything, let alone hope in adversity, that my two daughters have learnt this week. But I’ve found out how to use a mattock – great for uprooting brambles should you ever need to do this… I’ve also changed three bow saw blades. And I watched Pete change a fuse. I’ve also repaired some broken curtains. Result I feel like it’s been a good week.

But learning to do things is surprisingly hard – something I often forget when I meet the girls from school and ask “Did you have a nice day?” Often they’ve had tests, disagreements with friends, auditions for the school play or were in the wrong queue for lunch. Considering all these small troubles it is amazing how often they say, “Yes, I had a fun day”.

Most days my life feels like a mini-comedy show in an early stage of slapstick rehearsal.

On Tuesday I tripped over both my bike bags while teaching a class at uni – which got all the students laughing at me (hopefully in a nice sort of a way. Then on Wednesday while reminding myself how to replace blunt blades I managed to trap my sweatshirt into the bowsaw handle, which left me in a rather Carry On pose, and the super experienced conservation warden in hysterics. Quite right too. I’m not going to forget the time I took out a pair of knickers from my pocket accidentally while attempting to shake someone’s hand at a job interview.  So embarassing (and who knows how they got there?).

On Monday a pile of socks were ruined after they were accidentally left on the grill  in the kitchen which led to an athletic outbreak of puns (times are hard? cheese on toes anyone?). Dog poo avoidance is a constant source of  laughing relief. Oh and my dog has become a shoplifter – on thursday while I was buying a half dozen miniatures of vodka at 9.10am. In my defence this was part of a xmas-present creation plan as they will be used to make vanilla essence (you just chop a vanilla bean in half and then add to the vodka). But the dog noticed my distraction and so helped himself to two 30cm long sweet gummy snakes. They cost almost as much as the vodka…

Lola says she often gets the giggles with her friends, especially when they are rehearsing brass group. I’m around people left, but it’s strange how often my behaviour unintentionally leaves them with a worried smile on their faces. Oh well, I think that’s what people mean when they wish you a “nice day”. Enjoy what happens. After all, it might not happen again.

Over to you?
How do you teach children to see the funny side of life? Always assuming that you think this is a good way to proceed…

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2 Comments on “Did you have a nice day?”


  1. Yet again, another post from you that I enjoyed reading and feel compelled to comment on! I very much believe in looking on the bright side, and laughing as much as possible, and I have tried to raise my children that way too.

    My 12 year old daughter gets the bus to school and one particularly fraught morning, her and I had been arguing about something, and she was running late. She stormed out of the house and I shouted after her “Come back here and give me a hug and kiss before you go!” (Because as every parent knows, you should NEVER leave on bad terms). She shouted back “I’m late and haven’t got time for that!”. The second after she said that, the strap on her school bag broke and the bag fell off her shoulder and onto the ground, spilling out the contents. She and I immediately burst into laughter; I was so pleased that we were both able to switch so quickly from being cross to laughing, and was very grateful for the broken school bag!


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