NEW! If you’d rather LISTEN to this blog post, check out the podcast version here by clicking on the podcast picture. For all my readers, keep reading. 🙂
If you’re like me, deep conversations with the ones you love are high on your priority list.
People like us are referred to as “deep-sea divers.” We can hang out on the surface if we need to, but it’s the depths of authentic, truthful conversations that we most enjoy swimming in.
I’ve struck gold with this family ritual we started weeks ago and I wanted to share it with you. It has made a huge difference in the quality of our family conversations and has stimulated tons of authentic sharing with all four of our kids – ages 3, 9, 12 and 13.
Now, every Sunday night (it was important for us to stick to one day) my family and I gather around the table and deep sea dive together. It’s not forced or awkward and it always leads to laughs, sometimes tears (the “man I needed to let that out” kind), sounds of collective “awwwwes”, and (some shocking) stories I know we wouldn’t hear otherwise. Even our 3-year old Dillon has gotten in on it.
Our Non-Negotiable Favorite Family Ritual
Last December I attended a Dr. Joe Dispenza weeklong workshop in Cancun (which I highly recommend, btw.)
Every day upon entering the ballroom for a full day of lecture, meditation and deeply insightful conversation, all of the attendees would place their hands in a bag to fish out a 1-inch circle with a word printed on it.
The words, such as compassion, intuition, guidance, power, coherence, gratitude, etc., were our personal mementos and mantras for the day. And while we each received a different word, it all tied in beautifully with everything we were learning. It made for a powerful intention and focus exercise and great conversation.
I decided to bring this word of the day ritual home with me, only instead of daily words we have a weekly word that we share and discuss.
This ritual has become the cornerstone of our week and has bonded us together in a deeper way.
My daughters wrote all the words out that my husband and I decided we wanted to be the topic of conversation: integrity, kindness, courage, boundaries, self-care, compassion, self-reliance, persistence, empathy, forgiveness, just to name a few.
Each one was written down on pieces of construction paper. Then, we put all the words into a box – our newly named Word of the Week Box.
Each week we take turns blindly pulling the word of the week out of the box. The first week the word compassion was pulled.
We discussed the definition of compassion then asked if they had examples of compassion in their lives.
My husband and I sat in disbelief as we heard three very heart-warming stories from our three daughters about acts of compassion they had recently been a part of or witnessed.
The word compassion stimulated so much conversation between us I sat in awe. It wasn’t forced, it was beautiful. And the conversation didn’t stop there, it continued and we learned more about their lives – the parts that add up to their childhood but often get drowned out in the daily rush.
The sharing lead to more conversation and we heard what compassion looks like in their lives, with their friends and with strangers from their point of view.
All it took was some time carved out of our schedule to share together and a one meaningful word.
We keep the word on display in our kitchen to remind us what we are focusing on for the week. I’ll also check in with everyone throughout the week to remind them. I keep it light and friendly – I don’t want it to ever feel like a homework assignment. (They have enough of those!)
Each week has proven to us that our kids have so much more they want to share with us, and as a blended family this is really special. Because my husband and I share stories too, it’s allowed us to be more vulnerable with our kids, which has really opened us up for some beautiful moments.
The word of the week has leveled the playing field.We are all learning and sharing together. No one’s story is more important and everyone gets a turn. It is powerful, simple and just what we needed to deepen our bond as a family.
Here’s a picture of our very hi-tech Word of the Week Box:
It’s an empty paper box with pieces of construction paper, but it’s so much more!
This doesn’t have to be limited to kids either. Spouses, friends, whoever you want to get to know more and deepen your connection with. The key is to make it something you do on a regular schedule – weekly, bi-weekly, monthly – whatever works best for you.
If they share it directly or not, our kids are affected by what they see and hear. We are in the age of technology, which means our kids have access to news instantly and are influenced constantly.
It’s even more important now for our kids’ home base to be a sanctuary where deep discussions are always happening. We are their spiritual teachers, their guides, and they have a lot to teach us too. It’s up to us to keep the lines of communication open and available.
I encourage you to give this family ritual a try with your family. Open up and share your stories and wisdom with them and watch how they will share too.
Let me know how it goes in the comments. You can also share a picture of your Word of the Week Box, or whatever creative way you choose to try this special family ritual.
Here’s to deep conversations being a part of our everyday lives and to loving our families hard.
Lots of love,