We call it Family Council in Mormonland. The rest of you probaby call it a Family Meeting.
Either way it’s important for families to have them. Like really important. In my mind, Family Meetings are right up there with Family Scripture Study and Family Prayer. In fact, I consider Family Council to be one of the weapons we can use in the war to save families.
We aim for 2 Family Councils a month. Although 1 meeting a month may be sufficient, our kids don’t have the attention span to cover everything all at once, so we break it up into two short meeting.
One meeting is a calendaring session. We like to do this one on the 4th Sunday of every month. That way we are on top of things for the upcoming month.
Of course there are the usual birthdays, family dinners, basketball games, church meetings, dance practices, etc. to calendar.
But then we also make it a point to schedule:
If we don’t take the time to calendar these events, they are not likely to happen.
We also assign out Family Home Evening lesson assignments for the month. Since there are just 4 of us that teach right now (Mom, Dad, Elle and Crew), we generally each take a week. Croft and Locke act as Mom and Dad’s lesson buddies. In rare moments of “put togetherness”, we even pre-assign the topics.
Here is our schedule this month:
Feb. 3 – Mom: Disneyland trip kick off
Feb. 24- Dad: Fasting (Usually dad or mom covers the more doctrinally based lessons.)
The 2nd Family Council in the month is where we discuss family issues or events. We plan vacations, discuss concerns, set goals, or address problems. We’ve discussed Family Mission plans, Halloween costumes, back to school schedules and ideas for Service Saturdays. This meeting is also where the kids get to bring up any of their concerns or issues with the family.
Our meeting last month was about our upcoming Disneyland trip. In the meeting, we calendared the dates. We went over our itinerary and travel plans. We discussed what mom and dad would pay for and what the kids would be responsible to pay for. We brainstormed ways for the kids to make money for the trip. The kids gave their input, and the discussion allowed us to all get on the same page.
With all this Family Council business, there are two things I think are important to remember:
1. In Family Council, the kids help solve the problems.
One of my favorite family council memories is when we were discussing our family prayers and how we could improve them. The kids were pretty little and reverence and attention weren’t great. We involved the kids in the discussion and asked them what we could do to improve our family prayers. Elle was maybe 6 at the time, and she suggested we kneel in a circle and hold hands so that we could help Crew and Croft keep their hands to themselves. And also, it would help them stay in one place. I thought that was a great suggestion from a little kid, so we implemented her idea for a few years actually.
2. In Family Council, assignments are given.
For example, one meeting, after we discussed how we wanted our Family Home Evenings to go, Elle was assigned to make a rotating job wheel and mom was assigned to make an agenda. One common assignment for the kids is to make phone calls. Sometimes they call to schedule Service Saturdays, other times they call relatives to schedule events or clarify our assignments. I get a kick out of listening to them on the phone being official.
Lastly, I like to take minutes of our Family Council and record them in a spiral notebook. Not only does it help us remember what we talked about and the decisions we made, but it acts as a journal as well. It is fun to go back and see what we discussed and the how we solved problems.
I also write anecdotes on the side- comments kids made or funny things they did or ideas they came up with. February 15, 2010, Crew said, “Let’s move on people!” and “I hate dressing up in church clothes.” Not that Crew’s opinion has changed much, but I like to look back and see where we’ve been and how we’ve grown and laugh a little too.
I don’t care if you call them Family Councils or Family Meetings I just want you have them. And it’s never too late to start them in your family for the first time, bring them back, or improve them a bit. Some months are better than others for us, and but we really do try to hold them because it makes our life easier in the end.