Hey, welcome to the, What Could Go Right? podcast. We are coming to you live from somewhere outside. I am Erik Orton. Undisclosed location. I'm Emily Orton. And we talk about personal growth, family connection, and raising adult kids. If you find something useful or you like what you hear or you just like our vibe, please subscribe, rate, and review. We don't use any ads and this is how we can share the good news with everybody out there. Alright. So what are we talking about today, Emily? Today we wanted to talk about family connections and some of the things that have worked for us. Maybe that have been unique to us or unusual that we've done that's easy for everybody to do because so many people want to talk to us about, 'Oh, you're the people who lived for a year on a sailboat.' And some people are hyped about that but most people are like, 'I'm never going to live for a year on a sailboat.' There are lots and lots of ways to make deep meaningful connections with your family without going to quote unquote "extremes" and living on a sailboat. And so we want to talk to you about some of the things that we were doing prior to getting on a sailboat that helped us have such a connected family that we knew we would be okay in such close quarters for an extended period of time. Yeah. The first
1:19 Family Day
one I would love to talk about - this is the most complex one so if you hang on here they just get easier from here on out. We're going to talk about four. And this one is Family Day. AndI have to give a hundred percent of the credit for this idea to Erik. Will you kind of tell us where Family Day came from, why you decided you wanted to do it, and then we can talk about how we made it happen? Yeah, well so I we had gone through a particularly intense period as a family where I was working, and quite frankly, serving a lot in church and was away from the family a lot of the time - especially on weekends. And when that came to a close I just said you know what I would love to just have one day a month where there's nothing going on where we can just be together as a family and we can plan something or we could just have a day that's completely unstructured and we're just together and we kind of figure it out. But so many of our weekends get filled up with lots of good things. And by good things to be like hey a friend gets you know one of our kids gets invited to a birthday party or there's a bridal shower or somebody needs help moving. Or you know any number of things. Or there's there's an event. There's a baptism. There's this you know get together with family. So there's all kinds of stuff that comes up. And we just decided it would be great to have one day a month where it's just me, Emily, and our kids. And we just hang out. And so that's what we decided to do. And we picked a day. We found an empty Saturday. We put it on the calendar and we called it Family Day. And believe it or not once we picked it invitations for stuff or opportunities to do stuff that day started to roll in. But because we had blocked it out we said, 'Sorry, we've already got plans. We've got plans. We're doing a Family Day.' And in some cases it was pretty hard because good stuff would come in from really good people people that we cared about that were part of our lives. But we stuck to our guns and after a few months of this, people started to extend the invitations where the opportunities came a little bit differently. And it was kind of like, 'We'd love to get together but if it's you know unless it's Family Day, of course.' Is that what was? Yeah. Am I describing that right? It would be like, 'Hey, we're having a brunch. We hope you can make it if it's not Family Day.' Like we held our own boundary enough months in a row that they knew what Family Day was and that we were going to stick to it it wasn't like, Oh, we're gonna make an exception for your move or your brunch because it's Family Day. And we knew, like we knew that the window on our time with our kids at home was closing. And we knew we only had, you know, how many months. And how many opportunities to have just unstructured we're literally hanging out we're not like, 'Go, go, go! Where are your shoes?' You know, none of that attitude - more like bringing a campfire-type mood to our whole day. And other people started to respect it. And maybe even more important than that the kids loved it. And we did Family Day every month for three years before we moved on to the boat. And that final year we said, 'Hey, we're gonna do like Family Year. So how about this year prior to moving aboard a sailboat we're using our weekends and other kind of preparation activities we'll make more exceptions this year?' Yeah, and and they. Yeah. They loved it. So Family Day was a huge hit for all of us. So step one or what idea number one is to create a family day you literally just have to pick an empty Saturday or clear a Saturday. Put it on the calendar and commit amongst everybody in the family to not it's not scheduled to keep it open for just just yourselves. So that's one. Second and I would say on that one I would just add that if a full day feels -I mean I bet you can do it I believe it you can do it - but if you feel like you want to try a modified version, try a half day.Like a Saturday. Like a family morning. Yeah. Just plan some unstructured time. Put it on your calendar and say, 'No' to everything elsefor those six hours or for those 12 waking hours. Whatever it is. Alright. So that's one. Second,
5:45 Week In Pictures
Emily? Okay. We - this one was also Erik's idea - Week In Pictures. And I think, I don't know. Maybe I just spent so much time with the kids as the - we've chosen, both of us together, for me to be - the stay-at-home parent for the bulk of our kids growing up. And I wasn't probably looking for ways to spend time together. So maybe that's why all the - but anyway for whatever reason. You didn't need any help. Maybe I'm the one that needed this. For whatever reason, you've had all these great ideas and this is another favorite. I would say our 17-year-old son we're outside there's cars other people live in this going overhead people are like mowing their yards so if you hear stuff just know that we're we're actually legitimately outside. Okay so our 17-year-old-son, this is one of his favorite traditions. And he has told us multiple times that he definitely wants to do this when he has his own family which is a huge win to me because he used to tell us he wasn't interested in having a family at all. We'll see what happens. But he likes this one and it's called Week In Pictures. So here's how Week In Pictures works.
Everybody has a phone. Most people have a phone, smartphone, especially if your kids are adults your kids are going to have a phone. Or teenagers. Or teenagers, yeah. So we walk around with these devices and we spend so much time with our faces in them. And what we do is every Sunday afternoon or evening we sit down and we have Week In Pictures which for us consists of taking our phones and broadcasting them to the TV. We all sit in the living room around the TV. And we put all the pictures on our phones up. And we just everybody shares their pictures from that week. How we have chosen to do it is we start from youngest going to oldest. So Lily starts and I finish. And you just start from the beginning you go to Monday. You go Monday through Sunday. And then how we do it is whenever somebody's done we say, 'And that's my Week In Pictures.' And everybody claps. You're like, 'That's a great week. It looks like a great week.' And we clap for them. And then then it goes to the next person. And one of the great benefits that I love about this is that we really get a peek inside of what was interesting and what caught the attention for each member of our family. And sometimes it will be that they were at an event or they thought they had a really cute outfit that day or they screenshot like a bunch of you know funny memes articles or maybe it's like a quote from scripture that stood out to them and we get to share all of that. And at one point, for a very brief season, our Week In Pictures was getting to be quite long. And so we, at that point, we added kind of a rule of no one person is going to exceed a 10-minute time slot. And that was just that was just a couple of weeks that happened. Then kids started to move out and so now it's it's shorter again. Well for our adult kids who aren't always at home they do try to make it, to come be home for Week In Pictures. If they're in the area they they'll say, 'Hey, yeah, I'd love to be there for that.' They don't always come but they always love it when they do come. And I'll also say that when we have people over on Sunday evenings, which is not unusual, we'll say, 'Hey, do you have any pictures you'd be willing to share?' And whoever's with us we'll invite them to join us in Week In Pictures. And one thing that I like is that like you were saying, Emily, it's a chance for us to see the past seven days through the eyes of that person. And oftentimes we see our phones and our devices are things that separate us and divide us. And, for us, this has really helped to connect us and bring us together which I think is is a real win for technology. And it doesn't just bring us together on the one day that we share. It actually brings us together throughout the week as we're taking pictures because we have some kids who used to never take pictures and they said, 'Oh, I'm going to be able to share this with my family.' And so they started thinking, 'I want to share this with my family. I will take a picture of it.' So, in that way it it kind of has us being connected throughout the week. So that's been a really fun one. Alright, so Family Day. Week In Pictures. What's number three? This one is probably the
10:13 Eyeball Time
easiest one on the list. Also, one that Erik came up with. And it's called Eyeball Time. Eyeball Time. Okay, so I don't know if you guys do dinner around the table but when we have a meal around the table or something. Usually, it's around a meal but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes we're just sitting in the living room. Sometimes we're just feeling scattered. Or we're we're trying to get people to focus or get attention. Or we're trying to just feel connected immediately and the way it works is we'll say, 'Eyeball Time.' And that means that everyone's going to take a turn looking everybody else in the eye. And so I will then turn and I'll look at Emily. And then I'll look at each one of our kids as they look at me. And then Emily will be the next and she does the same thing. So you actually look each other, in our case we look everyone in the eye seven times. And it takes like a minute. And after we've all, everyone's looked everybody else in the eye- boom. We're all like present and aware of each other. And I think it it can be a real game changer. And it costs no money. Obviously none of these costs money except for a phone for Week In Pictures but.. True. Anyway just like super free, super fast, super effective.
11:26 The ‘I Like’ Game
And then the last one is the I Like Game. I Like Game. And our kids love this, too. And you can do this. This was your idea. Well, whoever's idea this was. So this was Emily's idea. I'm getting in the Sun so I'm scooting over for you on the podcast bear with us. The video. The vodcast. So we learned early on that when we come from a place of gratitude we have a lot more emotional peace and stamina. And we just have a better attitude. We're able to come up with better solutions. We're less selfish. And so how do you then transmit that to kids? And when our kids were little we started it just by playing a game where we would roll a ball back and forth to each other. Maybe we get in a circle and roll the ball back and forth and each time we would say something that I like. I like asparagus. Or I like Paddington Bear. Or I like shade trees. Hugs. Yeah or shade trees or whatever it might be. And we would just roll it back and forth and you could choose anyone that you're going to roll it to. And you never know who's going to get it next. And you're just gonna say something that you like. And just by acknowledging that there are all of these things in the world that we live in that you like it's a pretty easy step towards gratitude. It's an appreciation kind of game. And then we sort of diversified it and said like, 'Let's just say movies I like. Or let's just say desserts I like. Or let's just say foods I like. Or people I like. Or games I like.' You know, you can pick all your own categories. And so you know endless modifications. And then as the kids got older they still wanted to sometimes play this game. And sometimes we would just do it in the car. Iwould drive my kids - so they had an early morning Seminary class when we were living in San Diego. Ao I had a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old and it was like maybe a four-and-a-half minute drive.Pretty short. Oh, it's just a couple minutes just getting out of the parking lot but then they were like, 'Let's play the I Like Game on the way.' And we would just pass it around and go in a circle and each person would say I like this I like that. And anyway it's a great way to start the day. It's a great way to transition. It's a great way to pull out of a funk. And it's just a good habit to form. And it can and not only that but it also allows you to kind of get to know each other because you're like, 'Oh, you like that cereal? I didn't know that. Or you like that show? I've never heard of it. Tell me about it.' So it's so easy and it's good on so many levels. I really love that one. I like the I Like Game.' So meta! So four things that you can do right now to connect with your family. Okay, we went to an extreme living on a sailboat to connect as a family. You do not have to go to extremes to do this. You can do a Family Day. You can do Week In Pictures. You can do... What's the other one? Oh, Eyeball Time. Eyeball Time. You can also do I Like Game. Those are just four ideas that are free, easy, and like I said, super effective.
14:37 Try it Today, Holiday, or Family Reunion
If you're getting together with your family today it's a great day to do it. If your family's moved out and you're going to gather up for a weekend, or a holiday, or maybe you're doing a reunion these are all things that you could easily do in those settings with almost zero planning and coordination. It's just like, 'Hey we're all in the same place. Let's let's do a thing together.' It's a great idea. Yeah, so there we are. Well, hopefully, you found those things helpful. And hopefully, you'll try them out, and share them with your friends. And if you found anything that was helpful, or useful, or you just like our vibe please - again - feel free to subscribe, rate, and review. That's how we're gonna share the word that we are here to help with families who have kids growing in independence, emerging adults, adults who've already left home, and all that fun stuff. Personal growth, family connection, and raising adult kids. We are here for you. What could go right?