I consider myself lucky to have spent the past sixteen years or so being able to primarily focus my time and energy on raising my children and supporting my husband in his various business ventures. When our son was born and I started my new career as a stay at home mom I was committed to excellence and determined to take this task seriously. But we were among the first of our group of friends to start a family and I had never taken any ‘Home Economics’ classes so I started reading everything I could find that would help me do a good job.
In one of those books I came across the concept of a weekly family meeting. I was drawn to the idea of coming together every week to discuss our schedules, plans, hopes, and dreams – even though our schedule was quite manageable at that time – and I implemented the Sunday Family Meeting right away. While we sat together at the dining room table this afternoon I found myself reflecting what an important role those meetings have held for our family.
Besides the obvious perk of knowing where everyone will be throughout the week (and who’s in charge of getting them there – which is huge in and of itself – our family meetings have helped in so many other areas. Everyone has learned how to put their appointments on the family calendar (now we share our respective google calendars with each other) and by second grade both of my children knew when they were available for a playdate and what events to prepare for each day because they knew their schedule. They also learned how an official meeting is conducted (although we leave room for fun), goal setting (we set weekly goals), and accountability.
Probably the biggest impact of those meetings has been the bond that has been forged around the table. When we talk about the week ahead we practice caring about what others have going on in their lives and supporting each other when something especially difficult was ahead of one of us. We’ve practiced paying attention to the needs of others and sharing empathy through our prayer requests. We’ve practiced problem solving skills while we discuss our ‘issues’ (sometimes the same issues every week for months), we’ve learned about planning for fun events, and we’ve learned how to celebrate the successes of others as well as acknowledging when someone helps us or does well.
To top it off, I have been keeping ‘the minutes’ of each meeting in little composition notebooks so I can look back at the day we celebrated Zak learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels or when Morgan got her braces off. Our family meetings have made our lives more simple (through organization) and at the same time richer in so many ways and I highly recommend them.