Last week, I shared how our efforts to keep the Sabbath day holy one hour at a time has gone.
Today, I'd like to talk about holding family councils.
We really didn't hold regular "family councils" until last Spring, I guess, when it was suggested by the visiting general authority that Sunday afternoon would be a good time for family's to hold family councils.
We have long had family meetings when needed...but the term "family council" always sounded so stuffy and top-down to me. Not exactly my style. But after this admonishment, and realizing that our family life will only continue to get busier, we decided to implement family councils so that we can continue to stay on the same page as time passes and our situation changes.
Plus, it seemed like a great way to help Sunday afternoons pass with purpose.
Technically, we were advised that family council should be a time for parents to teach family's some principle...however more so recently, it's more of a family planning session for the week, with a little principle or testimony sprinkled in to whatever is going on in our lives at the moment. And we often discover what principle needs to be taught through our candid discussions at family council.
We have chosen 5pm on Sundays for our Family Council time. This past Sunday, we did it right after eating our lunch/dinner. We love to talk around the dinner table.
Steve and Autumn made us this yummy tray of food from stuff they scrounged up in the fridge. It was a meal that you pick over and dip and just sort of take a long time eating...so it gave us time to chat and laugh.
Somehow we got onto the topic of someone "liking" someone...and Steve and I took the opportunity to talk about how boys act around girls that they like. We were all laughing by the end of it. It's interesting having a pre-teen in the house now. Our conversations have changed a bit and it's fun to talk about new things.
Everyone was interested in the conversation and engaged, so we prayed and went straight into family council. We talked about what each day of the week would entail, and what needed to be done by the family members. We also circled around to the "what to name the baby" conversation, which resulted in no real decision, as usual!
I told them that the long-awaited Chipotle was going to open in our town on Thursday and I told them I'd be willing to take them out of school to go to lunch with me at the new restaurant. Unbelievably, one child moaned and complained because she doesn't like Chipotle. Um, what?? To which I took the opportunity to inform her that this NEVER in a million years would have happened in my childhood. (My children have it "so hard!!!")
Anyway, in addition to outlining what I expect of them, I like having some little fun thing to surprise them with, if I can. And by fun things I mean "fun news"...whether it's announcing that a cousin is having a birthday this week or announcing a fun activity we will do that they had not been anticipating...
In addition to this, Steve gave out "awards", which are basically a verbal pat on the back from Dad for some good behavior or accomplishment...followed by "three cheers" from the rest of the family. (Here Autumn is getting an award for being brave.)
Over all, my favorite thing about family council is that it seems to unify us as a family. It makes us feel like we are a part of something...working toward a common goal. All of the kids are included, informed, and asked to give their input about family decisions. And for some reason, lots of funny things happen at family council....like this week, when Guy came with his shirt stuffed to look like muscles! I have no idea what triggered this, but it was hilarious.
We didn't have any big decisions to make, but when we were contemplating switching bedrooms in anticipation of the new baby, the children were all able to say who they wanted to room with during our family council. We took their wishes into consideration, talked about it as a couple later, then announced how the room situation would go at the next family council.
I asked the kids, who are home from school today, what they like about family council. (Their response to "Do you like family council was a resounding "YES!!") Here's what they said for the why:
1. "I don't know, we talk about our week and what we're gonna do." (Scarlett)
2. "I like it because we get to know what's happening." (Guy)
3. "And it's always interesting..." (Scarlett & Guy)
4. "Funny things happen." (Autumn)
5. "Because we get to know about a lot of surprises." (Autumn)
6. "Like when you told us you were having a baby...and stuff." (Autumn)
7. "Dad gives out awards." (Guy)
8. "We get to eat or have treats while we talk." (All)
9. "Memories" (Mom)
10. "We get on the same page." (Mom & Dad)
We're no experts, we're just enjoying what family councils bring to our family at the moment. Do you hold regular family meetings or councils in your family? Let me know in a comment how that has worked for you!