Roses and Thorns

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
Roses and Thorns

My daughter (not quite five) and I got into a ridiculous fight last night over the “rules” of Roses and Thorns.

Roses and Thorns, if you don’t know, is a simple activity where you say your “rose” (the best thing) and your “thorn” (the worst thing) for the day. We don’t do this game that often, but last night I suggested it. While she claimed to be excited to play, when it was my daughter’s turn, she declared she didn’t have a “rose”. I told her that the whole point of the game was to think of one – to find something, anything from the day that made her happy. Well. This threw her into an absolute fit, as she declared that those were NOT the rules and that you DO NOT have to have a rose. But I wouldn’t relent. I told her to think of any one moment during the day where she remembered smiling or laughing or having fun or eating something good. After more refusing, pouting, and yelling about how those ARE NOT THE RULES! she sulkingly declared that eating macaroni and cheese for lunch was her rose, and that EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WHOLE DAY was her thorn.

At that moment she was also refusing to eat her spaghetti because I didn’t mix it up right – there had to be noodles on top of the noodles mixed with the meat and the sauce but the noodles I gave her were the WRONG COLOR. Meanwhile, my 20 month old son had long ago finished his dinner and was tired of being ignored and was shouting ALL DONE! ALL DONE! ALL DONE! before finally starting to throw his food onto the floor.

As I was on the floor cleaning up his mess, I went back at the Rose and Thorn debate because you know, engaging in a philosophical argument with an almost-five-year old is usually such a smart thing to do. I was huffily gathering up stray spaghetti noodles and puddles of yogurt and telling her that some days are hard and some days are frustrating and some days the best thing that happens is when I can finally put on my PJs and get ready for BED but that’s okay because at least I found SOMETHING to be grateful about, and that sometimes it is the LEAST WORST THING in your day that becomes your Rose and once again, THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT!!! when suddenly she hurled herself out of her chair and into my arms. And we hugged. And even my son went quiet for a minute. And I told her that that moment was my new Rose for the day. And I thanked her for sharing her feelings with me. And all was well.

Until 15 minutes later when she got in trouble for shoving her brother onto the floor (after he had gotten in trouble for pulling her hair).

When the Roses are in full bloom, they’re easy to spot. But on days where they’re hidden quite well underneath the thorns, it’s often when they’re most important to find. And if you look closely enough, if you push the thorns gently aside, you can always find one.  Even if it’s just that you made it to bedtime.

Where can you find your Rose today? 


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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.