We have a practice in our house called Peacock Day.
Of all the things my husband I have done to cultivate loving relationships between us and our two kids, Zoë and Oakley, this practice is one of the most powerful.
Peacock Day is when we take turns saying meaningful, loving things to each other. If it's Zoë's Peacock Day, then Paul, Oakley and I say things that will result in Zoë feeling as proud as a peacock.
Most sentences begin with "I love how you..." or "I'm proud of you for..."
On more than one occasion, I've felt my eyes brimming with tears from the recognition and acknowledgment we've given and received.
There have been several surprising benefits to our Peacock Day Ritual. The first one is that it's particularly fulfilling as a parent to hear what my kids see in me and what they love about me. They have said things like "I'm proud of you, Mommy, for being so persistent in your business," and "I love how you support us and are always there for us when we need to talk".
I'm telling you, I feel like such a great parent when I hear stuff like that!
The second unexpected benefit of Peacock Day is hearing what Paul sees in me. Acknowledgment from my husband in front of my kids amplifies the happiness I feel by being recognized.
Sometimes he comments on things I do that I thought were going unnoticed, like "I'm grateful for you making us dinner all week." Other times he sees in me what I don't see in myself. I also love to do the same thing for him. This practice has definitely enhanced our relationship.
The third surprising benefit of Peacock Day is the relationship that has grown between Zoë and Oakley. When we first started acknowledging each other, Paul and I were definitely setting the example.
It took a few months of hearing their hesitant or silly compliments to each other. I can't tell you how many times Oakley's comment to his sister was "I love how you try new foods".
After a few months, though, they got the idea and started giving each other heartfelt acknowledgment.
Now that we've been doing Peacock Day for several years, their words often bring tears to my eyes as my heart simultaneously melts.
In fact, that's what prompted this post. At a recent Peacock Day, Oakley said to Zoë, "I love how you spend time with me and I also love how you tell me when you need time to yourself. You have a really strong mentality shield."
(I'll tell you more about mentality shields another time because that practice has been a game changer for all 4 of us.)
What I loved about Oakley's comment is that pretty much every time Zoë says she times to herself, Oakley ends up stomping around the house, whining about wanting to play with his big sister, or moaning on the floor.
Zoë is introverted and so she refuels by spending time alone. Oakley is more extroverted and, as a result, he gets his energy by being around others. It's really hard for him to accept this difference, especially when he wants Zoë to play with him.
I found it absolutely fascinating that he could see beyond his own experience and honour her for caring for herself in the way that she needs. Courageous Self-Care!!!
I had to dab my eyes with my napkin after hearing that one.
Words are important and magical when they're used to fill each other up. With our Peacock Day practice, we've stumbled upon a family ritual that has made a positive impact on our relationships with each other.
How about giving Peacock Day a try in your home?
Feel free to adopt this practice as your own, or modify it to suit your style.
It all comes down to celebrating each other through heart-felt acknowledgment. It does take some practice, but the effort is worth it .I love seeing our family's glowing faces as we learn to give and receive the gift of loving words.