Saturday, August 11, 2012

Family Meetings

Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to words of knowledge. (Proverbs 23:12 NIV)

We're a busy family. We are able to eat dinner as a family most nights, but with school starting up for Todd and the girls, it's about to get much busier.

I've learned that assuming the kids know something is foolish. For example, assuming Ava knows how to feed the dog is a mistake. The food will end up floating in the water dish every time. Slowly and deliberately teaching her to look for the bowl that isn't full of water the key to success. Having her big sister oversee the operation helped, too. It took a few tries and a few failures, but she's got it down now. Mommy and Ollie are both thankful.

Intentional instruction is important. Almost as important as leading by example.

Each Monday we sit down to dinner as a family and go through the laminated agenda in the picture below. We try to keep it as brief as possible, but the entire process seems to take about 20 minutes.

The first point of the agenda is to go over our weekly Bible verse. Todd or I choose a verse based on what we've been struggling with as a family or something we came across in our personal Bible study time. Sometimes we even choose a verse from our family rules. We read it and ask Madeline if she can explain what it means in her own words. Some further clarification and explanation is usually necessary. We discuss what the verse means to us and how it should help direct out behavior choices.

Then we move on to the agenda items for discussion. This varies from week to week. It might include reminders about our family rules, details about calendar items, and general information that helps our family run smoothly.

We then go trough the calendar for the week. This is a critical part of our meeting but the least fun. It has been challenging of late, as the schedule of a pastor with a two-point charge means two sets of monthly meetings. Add family and school obligations and you get a very busy week!

It's clear to me that God made the path easier for me to be able to stay home this year for just this reason: I will need my full concentration to keep the household running smoothly. I need to focus on feeding, loving, and guiding the girls (and Todd!) without adding another full time job into the mix. God is good!

We end our family meeting with compliments and prayer. Each family member comes up with something kind to say to another member of the family. It's practice in both giving and receiving compliments. Mom and Dad usually get the ball rolling and model how to give and receive praise. The girls tend to get silly at about this point, but we'll keep working on it. It's important to us to teach the girls how to help build others up and also how to graciously accept others' praise.

We close in prayer, usually led by Todd. Then everyone scatters so Mom and Dad don't have time to think of anything else to talk about.

I'm not going to lie: this isn't always a fun family event. But it's important that everyone work together and know what it takes to keep the family happy and healthy. As the girls get older and the weekly calendar fills up even more we'll be glad we set this time aside to talk each week.

Anyone else out there have regular family meetings? Care to share your procedures?

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