Creating family traditions encourages strong roots and a healthy life. This takes time and practice. Traditions are sacred because they promote exchanges that strengthen bonds of love and intimacy and build the kind of confidence that will carry your child through this world. One of the most beneficial traditions that we have established are family meetings.
We have been implementing family meetings for many years. We started when the kids were little and though our agenda has evolved, we have always assured that everyone gets a chance to speak and share his or her opinions.
Family Goals & Core Values
My husband is a hospital administrator … thus, it is not surprising that one of the first things we did when we implemented family meetings was to create a family goal statement and list of core values. I share ours with you here – but you will certainly want to develop your own.
We are committed to being happy and enjoying a more simplified life; and agree to hold each other and ourselves accountable to attitudes and behaviors that support those outcomes.
In our family, we value the following:
Caring/Compassion: We care deeply for our family members and friends, our pets too. Love, caring, and kindness are important to us.
Having Fun (including music, art, self-expression): Laughter and smiling, sharing good times, are part of our family life and are essential components of our humanity.
Our family practices its values in the following ways:
Caring/Compassion: Cooperating, helping, being supportive, listening respectfully, and having good manners are all ways that we show that we care.
Having Fun Playing games and spending time together in and outside of the home, swimming, and adventuring are some of the many ways we have fun.
We meet on a regular, weekly basis and utilize an agenda. If you have ever attended a formal business meeting – you have an idea of how these work. I love it because it assures we cover all topics and helps us to stay on task. The kids love it because they are treated like adults. My husband and I both play the role of Secretary – taking notes and listing action items for future reference.
We open each family meeting with an inspirational quote. We then go around the table and discuss the meaning of the quote and how it is applicable to our lives. In 2014, we will begin to reflect on the meaning of these quotes in more depth. The kids will be asked to write an essay each month sharing what it means to them.
- Values Observed
- Review action items from last family meeting
- What things went well in our family this week?
- What things could we improve in our family?
- What things will you commit to working on this week?
- Committee Reports (Vacation Plans, Education, Curriculum Needs-Upcoming Opportunities, & Finances)
- New Business – As noted on white board
Studies have shown that indulgence actually weakens your child’s powers to survive, deflating motivation, and diminishing feelings of success. With this in mind, we engage the kids in discussions about finances and budgeting. They are asked to contribute to our decisions about vacations and educational opportunities. For example, the kids have expressed interest in attending both Fish Camp and Heritage Camp this summer. We thereby discussed the cost of attending as well as logistical issues including conflicts with swim meets and family events. Because the kids have all the information and are a part of the discussion, they take ownership in the decisions that are made.
Additionally, the kids are expected to earn their own monies. I’ll be sharing more about this in a future post – but essentially, the money they earn is used to buy gifts for their friends (if invited to a birthday party) or to purchase things they want.
Family Five Share
In addition to our regular family meetings, we have also implemented what we call Family Share Five whereby the kids are asked to give a formal presentation of what they have been learning in homeschool. They are expected to share examples in at least five areas (Reading, Writing, Handcraft, Music, and Memory Work). Not only is their dad more aware now of what we are learning – but he also provides feedback for ways they can improve their public speaking.
Does your family have regular family meetings? Tell us how about your style and approach to family meetings in a comment below.