I've been thinking for the last year or so that maybe my family would benefit from regular family meetings. But there's always a lot going on and it's easy for things that should be talked about to slip through the cracks and get missed. And recently it seems like things are getting even busier. Doug and I have become more involved in church activities, Austin is very active in the church youth group, Michael has more Dr. and therapy appointments, and other changes have been made in family dynamics. So I talked to Doug about it last week and he agreed that it would be good to at least try and see how it goes.
About a week before our actual meeting we explained to Austin, Amanda and CJ what we were going to be doing and suggested they give some thought to what they would like to discuss during our meeting.
Our initial plan was to have our meeting on Saturday or Sunday but somehow the weekend slipped away from us and we didn't get it done. Monday evening there were other things going on so our first official meeting was this evening.
I really had no idea how this would turn out but I thought it went very well. This being our first attempt at something like this we sort of bumbled through the beginning of it, trying to get started. I took a little time to explain what a family meeting is. For us it's simply a time to talk about whatever is on our minds that needs to be addressed as a family - scheduling, activities the kids want to do that we need to plan for, concerns - pretty much whatever needs to be talked through. The rules are that regardless of what we talk about it has to be done kindly and respectfully.
Doug talked a little about coordinating schedules as well as a few things that Austin and Amanda need to work on a little.
CJ said he would like to have a certain day set for cleaning his room and hamster cage instead of just whenever we decided it needed to be done. He also verified that he wants me to contact the choir director of the children's choir at church about him joining. So I will be emailing her about that.
Amanda said she would like to volunteer at the SPCA as a dog walker. For her do this means that I will have to take the class with her as well as volunteer with her since she's only thirteen. And we have to commit to volunteering eight hours a month. So after some discussion about how to go about scheduling all this we decided to go ahead and try it. So I will be printing the applications so we can get the paperwork started for this new venture.
Austin enjoyed the discussions but said he really didn't have anything on his mind bring up.
Michael was in one of his "bouncing off the wall" moods and really wasn't interested in talking about anything.
I finished up the meeting by reminding everyone that we are starting a new year. I think we have some very good routines in place and am very pleased with the way everyone is working to make our lives run smoothly and successfully. I also reminded everyone that Michael has Dr. and physical therapy appointments for the next eight Mondays and how this will impact our schedules. We ended by agreeing to continue with weekly family meetings on Sunday evenings.
Overall I think this meeting was a definite success. The only thing I really plan to do differently next time is to start with prayer. Hopefully this will help us all feel like we're a solid unit working together toward common goals.
This is a beginning for us and I'm really interested in reading in the comments whether others have had family meetings and what kind of experience it was.
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