Every Day an Occasion

Our son graduated from college this week.

We were grateful to be there with him in person to celebrate his accomplishment.

He’s worked hard. He went to the university for five years rather than four, because he decided he didn’t want to do business but instead wanted to be a doctor.

I was impressed that he continued to put in the work even during his final semester, which was the hardest.

But I digress from what I wanted to share with you.

We have enjoyed several meals together in celebrating this milestone, beginning with brunch at Herm’s in Logan, Utah, but more recently, in Rome, Italy, at the Boma Country house, where we had dinner.

We noticed that families weren’t there just to eat. They were there for the evening: grandparents, parents, and even young children (four, five, six) at the restaurant for hours, enjoying one another’s company.

Our friends, the Sowells, who have spent a lot of time in Italy, talk about a sense of occasion, creating a moment. A few years ago, I interviewed Priya Parker on the podcast about her book, The Art of Gathering.

We observed this while in Rome, and we felt it.

As we ate dinner together (some of the most delicious pasta and risotto I’ve ever had), we had an in-depth conversation. We slowed down, discussed and observed our lives, and compared our college experiences. We had a dinner conversation. It wasn’t in-and-out.

Since the pandemic began, our family has exchanged thoughts on the sweet, sour, spiritual, and surprises in our week every Sunday. It’s a way to keep our connection even though we are geographically far apart. And daily, we work through a verse-of-the-day (Come Follow Me app, if interested) for spiritual sustenance.

There is something to celebrate about simply being together. We all have milestones in our lives; it might be a college graduation or one of many other events to commemorate. What I observed and appreciated in Rome is that for many of the families we saw, the meal together was the milestone, the occasion.

Who will you have a meal with this week? How might you elevate this moment and make it an occasion? 

This week’s podcast guest is Roger Martin. He has been ranked the #1 business thinker in the world and has a new book titled A New Way to Think. (Fun fact: His wife’s story is featured in Smart Growth––I’ll let you guess who she is.) He is so clear in his thinking and writing that I always walk away having learned something and feeling smarter at the same time. 

His view is that culture change is reinforced and changes, one interaction at a time. Applying that to this conversation, we can change our work culture and family culture, one meal at a time––every day an occasion.

My best,

P.S. It has been four months since Smart Growth was released. If you feel the book was useful to you, will you write a review or leave a rating? It will not only help other people who want to get smart about growth find the book, it would be generous of you and deeply appreciated by me!

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