Each week, on our day off, we hold a family meeting. This isn’t a boring, gavel-pounding, disciplinary meeting. Instead, it’s happy and lighthearted. We begin by yelling Family Meeting!!!!! Then, we all gather on the floor for a good chat. We’ve had lots of tears, hugs, arguments and apologies during our meetings. But, because of these “very honest chats,” we’ve all learned how to communicate in a healthy way and become closer because of it.
Read on to hear the questions we ask each week and topics we cover.
Here are 10 great questions to get the conversation started:
1. What did we do this week? (Usually, we are surprised by how much happened!)
2. What are we thankful for this week? (I’m usually surprised by what the kids are thankful for. It’s great to see life through their eyes.)
3. Does anyone have any issues or anything that is bothering them that they would like to share? (This has been an awesome time of bringing up issues OUT of the heat of the moment.)
4. Who is making forward progress towards their goals? What is your next step? How can I help?
5. How are we doing with our schedule? (Personally, and as a family)
6. How did our school week look?
7. How faithfully did we exercise this week?
8. Did we practice daily for ________? (soccer, piano, etc.)
9. Did I track this week? (financial, time, food, etc.)
10. Were we faithful in our daily devotions?
Then, we generally will do some kind of training. It may be financial training, how to have a conversation, or we may read a book about how their bodies are changing. It really varies on what we are doing as a family and what stage our kids are at.
Family Meetings are just plain awesome because…
It gives you a great place to have some wonderful heart-to-hearts with your entire family. It’s a place to apologize to your family, share your struggles, or encourage each other. It helps your kids see you as a person who realizes they aren’t perfect, who has struggles, just like they do. They will have more empathy for you, if you are honest with them. And, in turn, you will have more empathy for them when you hear what they are feeling, struggling with and going through. It’s very powerful.
It carves out a time to proactively train. This is the place we have begun training our kids in all sorts of practical matters; such as finances, relationships, schedules, dealing with hurts, forgiveness, and death. We began our talks about sex and body parts in these family meetings. Read more about that here.
If you have little kids:
We started when our kids were wee-little ones and the meeting was only about what each one would like to do on our day off. (Everyone gets one request.) Even in that small moment they learned: everyone matters, everyone gets a say. They learned to communicate their desires and also how to compromise and work together.
As your children grow older, you can add more and more questions. It will make it easier to have open and honest conversations when they are teenagers, if you’ve been doing this for years.
Feel free to revise this as it fits for your family. As you can see, you need to make it personal and applicable to your family. I hope this helps you get some healthy conversations going in your family this year. Many blessings!
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